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Wednesday, 28 February 2018 12:09

The Grapes of Châteauneuf-du-Pape

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Almost every wine book in print speaks of the 13 grape varieties of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but this count is not exactly accurate. If you factor in all of the color variants of those 13 grapes, you end up with 22 authorized grapes for this appellation!

Grenache

Noir

Rose

Gris

Blanc

Syrah

Noir

 

 

 

Mourvèdre

Noir

 

 

 

Cinsault

Noir

 

 

 

Vaccarèse

a.k.a. Camarèse or

Brun Argenté

Noir

 

 

 

Counoise

a.k.a. Moustardier

Noir

 

 

 

Muscardin

Noir

 

 

 

Terret

Noir

 

Gris

Blanc

Picpoul

Noir

 

Gris

Blanc

Clairette

 

Rose

Gris

Blanc

Roussanne

 

 

 

Blanc

Bourboulenc

 

 

 

Blanc

Picardan

 

 

 

Blanc

Approximately 70% of the viticole is planted to Grenache. Syrah and Mourvèdre follow at a distant second and third, respectively. This means that all the others are just salt and pepper to a Grenache-dominant vinous stew.

But clearly, red, white and pink-skinned grapes are going into these bottlings. Are there white grapes in red Châteauneuf-du-Pape? Yes. But, the red and white grapes are vinified together. There is no blending of red and white wines to make red Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Grapes Chateauneuf-du-pape

This appellation receives the full brunt of the Mistral, a cold north wind. The Mistral desiccates the grapes. This is largely viewed as a positive as it concentrates sugars and flavor compounds. But a prolonged Mistral can also suck too much water from the vines, forcing them to close their stomata to prevent dehydration. This, in turn, shuts photosynthesis down, and can negatively impact maturity.

A prolonged hot spell has the same effect. Photosynthesis shuts down once temperatures crest 95°F. Fortunately, it is sunshine that ripens a grape, not excessive heat. And the Rhône gets plenty of light…2,700 hours of it!

  1. Interested in learning more about or studying the Rhône Valley and its wines?

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Lisa Airey

Lisa M. Airey, FWS, CWE has thirteen years of experience selling wine at the wholesale level and in training both sales force and wait staff. She sat on the Board of Directors for the Society of Wine Educators from 1998-2004 and co-chaired the committee which launched their Certified Specialist of Wine program and authored and edited the first CSW Study Guide. She served as Education Director of the SWE before assuming the same role for WSG. She oversees all WSG educational programming.

Lisa was knighted by the French government (Order Mérite Agricole) for her contribution to French agriculture, namely the development of the French Wine Scholar Program. She is an Accredited International Bordeaux Tutor through the CIVB, a Certified Burgundy Instructor through the BIVB and a Certified Rhône Educator through Inter-Rhône. Lisa graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Language and Linguistics, Magna Cum Laude.



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