Greetings from Chateauneuf-du-Pape!
I've wanted to visit Provence for years, and thanks to my tolerant and supportive family, I've finally made it. Then again, how tolerant do you have to be to accompany somebody, even an old grouch, to France?
Frequent Flyer mileage and Airbnb (here and renting out at home) certainly helped make the trip possible as well. .
Anyway, I knew that I had to visit Chateauneuf-du-Pape when I finally made it to this neck of the woods and so we did - in addition to Avignon, Arles, Casis, Aix-en-Provence, etc. They all are interesting and fun in their own ways but none have the wine of this fabled village which we always feature in the shop with at least 4 or 5 Wineries represented. These Grenache based wines are wonderfully versatile and age incredibly well if one has the patience to let them do so.
As an added bonus to oenophile euphoria (say that three times quickly) it was great to see that my entire family really enjoyed the village, the wineries and the wine as much as I did.
So, if you ever have the chance to visit Chateauneuf-du-Pape make sure that you do so - including a stop or two at working wineries vs. the Tasting Rooms in town (which I'm sure are also fun). There is much to be learned at any one of them - as there are in good wineries in California.
Here in Chateauneuf both water and land are the key to the vines and wines. Specifically the mighty Rhone river, which formed the vineyards, influences this valley's geography and climate and created the Galets which are the large "pebbles" pictured in one of the photos above. Those stones retain heat and radiate it to the vines throughout the evenings which helps the maturation of the grapes. The results are delectable, even if pricier than most Rhone Valley wines.
Think about enjoying one with a good meal sometime soon and then book your trip to the South of France!