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If there is one French wine that every wine enthusiast should taste, it definitely would be Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It can be thought of as a primer for all French wines. Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine appellation famed for its Grenache-based red blends. Officially, the region produces red and white wines from over thirteen different varieties. It is also the only place in the world where UFO flights are officially banned. Let's take a closer look at this historic wine to see why Chateauneuf du Pape is regarded as the most prestigious appellation in the Southern Rhone. Therefore, do not hesitate to opt for a Châteauneuf du Pape wine tasting.

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Where is Châteauneuf du Pape wine appellation?

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a wine area in Rhone Valley near Avignon that is well-known throughout the country for its outstanding wines: Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC is one of the most renowned names in the southern Rhone Valley, with vineyards surrounding Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the nearby villages of Bédarrides, Courthézon, and Sorgues, located between Avignon and Orange. The vineyards occupy slightly more than 3,200 hectares and produce more than 110,000 hectolitres of wine annually. This region of the southern Rhone produces more wine than the entire northern Rhone.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vineyards
Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine appellation

Where to Stay in Châteauneuf du Pape

Hôtel 1770 & Spa

The 1770 Avignon Hotel is a Provençal residence built in 1770, refurbished in a contemporary style while retaining traditional elements such as exposed beams and a marble staircase.

Chateau Des Fines Roches

Set amidst the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this late 19th-century chateau, once inhabited by the Marquis of Baroncelli and frequented by Provencal poets.

Hôtel La Magnaneraie

Nestled on the heights of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, our hotel invites you to a peaceful respite, allowing you to savor the tranquility of our garden and heated outdoor pool.

La Sommellerie

The Logis Hôtel Restaurant La Sommellerie occupies a beautiful, centuries-old 17th-century sheepfold nestled amidst the vineyards, along the fragrant countryside roads.

Discover other accommodation options in Châteauneuf du Pape.

The History of Châteauneuf du Pape wine region

Chateauneuf-du-Pape means “Papa's New Castle” in French. This is from a 70-year era when the pope transferred his residence from Rome to Avignon. The popes were avid wine drinkers, initially preferring Burgundy wines over lesser local wines. But soon the Côte du Rhône winemaking experience developed. In the 13th century, Châteauneuf, with its 1,000 residents, began to prosper and establish vines (approximately 300 hectares).

Pope Clement V established the vineyards in 1308 but passed away in the Rhone Valley a few years later. He was undoubtedly the first winemaker in Châteauneuf. Wines from the northern Rhone Valley were served at the nomination ceremony of the second pope of Avignon (John XXII). Thus the region got its name from the "pope's wine"—"Vin du Pape."

Unique terroir of Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine appellation

The appellation Chateauneuf-du-Pape runs from the Rhone's eastern shore in Orange in the northwest to the Morgue near Avignon in the southeast. In the northern part of the appellation, the altitude above sea level reaches 120 meters. The classification encompasses 3,200 hectares of land with at least three distinct soil types.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape's unique terroir is derived from a layer of stones known as galets roulés (pebble rock). The rocks are usually quartzite and the remains of Alpine glaciers that have been smoothed over millennia by the Rhone. The stone stores heat throughout the day and releases it at night, which helps speed up grape ripening. Stones can also act as a barrier to keep moisture in the soil during the hot summer months.

Summers at Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region are short, hot, and mainly clear, while winters are cold, windy, and partially cloudy. Throughout the year, the temperature normally ranges from 2 °C to 31 °C and is rarely below -3 °C or above 35 °C.

Inimitable Châteauneuf-du-Pape red and white wines

Grenache grapes, commonly known as the “King of the Rhone”, are primarily used in the production of local wine. Châteauneuf-du-Pape permits 13 different types of grapes, where Grenache is always the base in the blend.

Other red grape varieties include: Cinsault, Counoise, Mourvèdre, Muscardin, Syrah, Terret noir, and Vaccarèse.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape red wine is commonly described as earthy, with a lively taste and traces of resin and leather. Wines are robust and tannin in their youth, yet they keep their deep spice with age. Wines usually show scents of garriga, a dried herb popular in Provence. Châteauneuf-du-Pape red wines often have higher tannin levels and must be aged for a longer period of time before they are drinkable.

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White grape varieties: Grenache blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette blanche, Picardan, Roussanne, and Picpoul.

Grenache Blanc and Roussanne contribute vivacity and richness to the Châteauneuf-du-Pape white wines, while Bourboulenc, Clairette blanche, and Picpoul offer acidity, flowery, and mineral notes. These wines range in style from mineral to fatty and flavourful, with almonds, carom, anise, fennel, honeysuckle, and peach among the flavours and aromas. Some domains also make Roussanne, a wine that is aged in an oak barrel. The majority of white wines are made to be enjoyed young. Some white Châteauneuf-du-Pape is made to age, and after 7-8 years, it has a piquant exotic or orange peel aroma.

Famous Grenache blends of Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines: 

  • Grenache and Cinsault add richness, warmth, and juiciness to the wine.
  • Mourvedre, Syrah, Muscardin, and Camarèse: give structure, maturity, color, and a thirst-quenching flavor.
  • Counteroise with Picpoul: used to create a one-of-a-kind charm and bouquet in the wine.
  • Clairette and Bourboulenc: for elegance and brightness.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape winemaking styles

Wines from Châteauneuf-du-Pape commonly have a high alcohol content, typically 13-15 percent, and must have a minimum alcohol content of 12.5 percent without chaptalization to comply with the appellation rules. The region's winemaking focuses on balancing high sugar levels in grapes with tannins and phenols, which are prevalent in red Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Grape clusters are rarely removed after harvesting and before fermentation. To obtain the characteristic dark colour of Châteauneuf wine, fermentation temperatures are kept high, and the skin is frequently pumped and punctured to raise the level of tannins and extract colour. Since the 1970s, some estates have experimented with carbon dioxide maceration in response to market trends favouring lighter, fruitier wines that can be consumed earlier.

Low yields are regarded as critical to Châteauneuf-du-Pape's performance, as the primary grape varietals have a tendency to create fine and soft wines in large amounts. AOC regulations limit output to 368 gallons per acre, which is less than half of the Bordeaux maximum.

Since the principal Grenache grape is prone to oxidation in porous wooden barrels, the traditional method of using cask oak in Châteauneuf-du-Pape is not widely practised. Grenache is vinified in big cement tanks, whilst other grape varietals are vinified in large old barrels known as foudres, which do not impart the same “oak” qualities as smaller oak barrels.

Places to visit in Châteauneuf-du-Pape


Avignon is the birthplace of Petrarch and Mireille Mathieu, as well as the city of the Vaucluse department, a huge region of southern France, noted for its lavender fields and perfume manufacturers. A great number of young people live here, and many musical events are performed, which, along with the medieval magnificent architecture, produces a distinctive ambiance in this small French town.

Avignon Bridge
Avignon – a city near Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region

Blooming gardens everywhere, thick gray walls reminiscent of a movie about knights and crusades, spacious avenues, odd bird singing, and the hooting of an owl in the city center - this and many other things that you will remember about this town.

Palais des Papes, Avignon

The Papal Palace (Palais des Papes), which serves as the city's icon, is one of the most popular tourist sites in France. It was constructed between the years 1335 and 1364. It is separated into two parts: the Palais Vieux (old palace) and the Palais Neuf (new palace) (New Palace). In 1995, the palace was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a cultural monument. The interior of the palace is richly decorated with frescoes, rugs, paintings, and sculptures, among other things. You won't want to miss the chance to see the largest Gothic palace in the world!

Théâtre antique d'Orange, Orange

To this day, the Théâtre antique d'Orange is the best preserved ancient Roman amphitheater. This one-of-a-kind structure, with 60 spectator rows, was built near the conclusion of the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus in the first half of the first century AD. The amphitheater was built to seat 11,000 people.  

The theater hosted pantomimes, poetry readings, and comic shows, the majority of which lasted all day. The amphitheater was available to the public, and the concerts were free of charge.

The Orange Theater's audience seats are set in a natural recess of the hill. The theater is well-known for its outstanding sound, this is why it is still used for opera performances.

Food to try at Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine is a traditional Quiche of eastern France. It's perfect for breakfast or a picnic. Quiche is a savoury open-faced pastry crust pie with cheese, meat, and vegetable custard filling. The Quiche is sometimes compared to an egg custard tart in terms of flavour. 

Quiche Lorraine
Quiche Lorraine – a local speciality in Châteauneuf-du-Pape

There are various varieties of Quiche Lorraine nowadays; some recipes use more eggs, others incorporate onion, chives, or scallions, some include a dash of nutmeg, and still others use a mix of cheeses. Gruyère cheese, made from entire cow's milk, is traditionally used in Quiche Lorraine, which  melts smoothly giving a delicate taste for the dish. 


Escargot is a traditional French dish of edible snails in shells with sauce. Most often, Escargots are served on a special dish of 6-12 pieces with dry white wine and white toast. A serving of 6 snails in shells is served as an appetizer, when as many as 12 pieces are served as a main course. The combination of dietary snail meat, sauce and bread makes the dish quite nutritious.


Quenelle is a dish that was originally used as a garnish in haute cuisine but is now its own dish. It's essentially a delicate dumpling filled with seasoned ground meat, chicken, fish, or vegetables and topped with breadcrumbs, eggs, oil, flour, or cream.

Traditionally, the dumpling is oval in shape and poached in water or stock. Although it can still be used as a garnish, it is now served as an appetizer or a main course. 

Interesting facts about Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a place where UFO flights are officially banned

In September 1954, a villager reported to the police that aliens caused him significant damage. The request was approved, the story reached the media, and soon inhabitants of all French small towns were reporting nighttime mysterious flying objects landing on their lawns. Some said the UFOs resembled soup dishes, while others said they resembled cigars. On October 25, 1954, Mayor Lucien Jean established an official decree banning mysterious flying objects from his commune. Jean enacted legislation banning unidentified flying objects from his commune's airspace.

There are three points of the law:

1. All spaceship and flying cigar aircraft, landings, and takeoffs are prohibited on communal territory, regardless of origin planet.

2. Any flying cigar or spaceship that lands on the communal grounds shall be arrested.

3. Forestry and city police officials must enforce this legislation.

Frequently asked questions about Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Where is Châteauneuf-du-Pape?

Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the Rhone wine region in southeastern France. It is one of the most famous subregions of the southern part of the Rhone Valley. The vineyards are located around Chateauneuf du Pape and in the neighboring villages of Bedarrides, Courthézon and Sorgue between Avignon and Orange.

What are the primary grapes of Châteauneuf-du-Pape?

The most important grape in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is Grenache. However, 13 different grape varieties are allowed by AOC laws there: Cinsault, Counoise, Mourvèdre, Muscardin, Syrah, Terret noir, Vaccarèse, Grenache blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette blanche, Picardan, Roussanne, and Picpoul.

What does Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine taste like?

Châteauneuf-du-Pape red wines are commonly described as earthy with a lively taste and traces of resin and leather. In the white wines grapes such as Grenache Blanc and Roussanne contribute vivacity and richness, while Bourboulenc, Clairette blanche, and Picpoul offer acidity, flowery, and mineral notes. 

Map of Wineries in Châteauneuf du Pape

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Just getting started on your wine journey, or jumping back in?
Taste through a selection of a great local wines.

Wineries in Châteauneuf du Pape