Southern Rhone: Chateauneuf-du-Pape AC
This is the largest of the Southern Rhone cru and the first area in France to receive the Appellation Controllee status.
This is a mainly flat area that is famous for its stony soil made up of “galets” aka “pudding stones”. These round stones heat up during the day and radiate that heat back to the vines during the evenings to help ripen the grapes. Even though this is a southern, hot region – the Mistral wind has such a cooling effect that it can prevent ripening, hence the importance of the stones in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
The wines are full-bodied, rich, spicy blends with lots of red fruits. They tend to be high in alcohol and, depending on the blend, some are more approachable earlier on while others need time in the bottle to show their best.