13 grape varieties, 4 terroirs
13 grape varieties, 4 terroirs and the Mistral make the specificity of the famous vineyard of Châteauneuf du Pape. Located not far from Avignon, the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation extends its vines over five communes: Orange in the North, Courthézon and Bédarrides in the East, Sorgues in the South and Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the centre.
Located in a setting between the Rhône and the Ouvèze valley, the vineyard covers 3200 hectares. The yield of the Châteauneuf du Pape vineyard represents 12 to 13 million bottles per year, the average oscillating between 95% red and 5% white. A large part of this production is exported, mainly to Anglo-Saxon countries.
There is no Rosé bearing the name of Châteauneuf du Pape, even if the AOC was created at the same time as that of Tavel, in 1936, whose vineyard only produces rosé.
Four types of soil
The Châteauneuf du Pape vineyard includes four types of soil: the vines can be planted on the famous rolled pebbles, sands, limestones (in the west and center of the appellation) and finally red sandstones, which are sands before decomposition and which are found mainly in the center-east of Châteauneuf du Pape.
The rolled pebbles, emblematic of the vineyard and the terroir of the appellation, have the particularity of restoring to the bunches of grapes the heat stored during the day. They thus contribute to perfect ripening of the berries. Sanitizing the vine, they also prevent the development of certain diseases, the water evaporating on contact with them.
The subsoil of the Châteauneuf du Pape vineyard is most often made up of red clay. To get water, the vine can take root up to three meters deep and draw the water it needs without resorting to artificial irrigation, a potential dilution factor for wines.
The mistral, meanwhile, is one of the main players in the quality and character of the wines produced in the Châteauneuf du Pape vineyard. It blows from North to South and can be very strong, thus protecting the vineyard from winter frosts. As for the summer, the mistral drives away the clouds after the storms and dries the vines. During the harvest, it also dehydrates the berries and concentrates the grapes from the different grape varieties.