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Châteauneuf du Pape Label
 
   

Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc Vieilles Vignes

In addition to being central to papal history, Châteauneuf du Pape is credited with establishing the precursor to the modern French appellation contrôlée system. In 1923 a series of controls for improving the quality and image of Châteauneuf du Pape were developed that ultimately became the basis for the modern system that has since been copied in Italy, Spain and Germany.

In addition to a rich history Châteauneuf du Pape is unique with its distinctive and extensive selection of grapes that were adopted by the appellation in 1936. For red wines the allowed varietals are: Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Cinsault, Vaccarèse, Counoise, Muscardin, Terret Noir, and Picpoul Noir. For white wine the allowed varietals are: Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Roussanne, Picopoul and Picardin. While this totals 15, the appellation is known for it's 13 varietals, which are totaled, by only counting Grenache and Picopoul only once.

- Predominantly Clairette and Bourboulenc with varying degrees of Grenache Blanc
-A.O.C. established 15 May 1936 and has 3,140 ha in production

-Harvest is usually early September
-Vines are on average 30 years old
-Soil composition of gravely decomposed rock, clay and galets roulés

Vintage Notes

 

Wine Éric's Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc is predominantly a blend of Clairette and Bourboulenc but when needed also includes Grenache Blanc. The Clairette provides finesse and complexity, the Bourboulenc imparts acidity and structure, and in some years Grenache Blanc is included to amplify aromas and add richness and concentration. Each varietal is individually barrel fermented and only blended after malolactic fermentation is completed.

These are medium to full-bodied wines of a golden hue with aromas of mineral, grass and hints of honey and sweet fruit. A round and fleshy white wine with a long finish that can especially be enjoyed with shellfish and grilled oysters but is best enjoyed in its youth, up to 5 years old.

 
Historic Picking Buckets in the cellar.

 
Vineyards Éric's vines are located in the the North facing Bois Sénéchaux vineyard, in the northeastern part of the appellation, towards Courthézon. The vines are about 1.5 meters apart and include Clairette, Bourboulenc and Grenache Blanc. All are gobelet trained vines (head pruned), which keeps the fruit low and protected from the gusts of le mistral.

Terroir  Located 16 kilometers from Avignon, Châteauneuf du Pape is a relatively flat appellation that includes vineyards above the Rhône in the village of Châteauneuf du Pape as well as the neighboring villages of Bédarrides, Courthézon, Orange and Sorgues. The terroir is known for it's galets roulés - the rust and cream colored, smooth, rounded stones ranging in size from a large tomato to a football. The galets roulés are deposits left behind when the Alpine glaciers that once covered the region retreated.

The appellation sits square in the middle of le mistral's well traveled path from the Alps to the Mediterranean Sea which blows on average 145 days a year with speeds of up to 80 kph (50 mph). As a result the vines are naturally kept free of pests and rot. The galets roulés retain the hot summer sunshine keeping the vines warm well into the night, with produces riper grapes than many other areas of the Rhône Valley.

 

Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc 2001

2001 began with a mild winter that was followed by a warm and wet spring with above average temperatures. Flowering started towards the beginning of May and June and July continued to be warm with heavy rainfall in July. August was hot and dry with temperatures reaching 33°C resulting in the grapes reaching a good maturity. September brought le mistral, which continued for nearly 2 weeks. Harvest commenced in early September but there was no Grenache Blanc as it was too alcoholic.

 

Blend: 60% Clairette and 40% Bourboulenc
Alcohol: 14% by volume

 

Suggested Aging: up to 5 years
Cases Produced: 282

 

 

© 2003 Éric Texier