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The history of Chateauneuf-du-Pape is now well known in the wine trade. It has over a millennia of winemaking lineage and of course the deep connections to Catholicism and the Papacy. French wine experts will... Read More
The history of Chateauneuf-du-Pape is now well known in the wine trade. It has over a millennia of winemaking lineage and of course the deep connections to Catholicism and the Papacy. French wine experts will also point out that it was the first organized Appellation or AOC in France in 1923. But despite the history and prestige it was only in the last few decades that the wines of Chateauneuf became popular and highly regarded here in the U.S.
The reasons for the quick rise of CDP in the States are numerous, but the ascendency of Robert Parker's Wine Advocate in the late 1980's and early '90s coupled with his close relationship and admiration of the Perrin Family and their famous Chateau de Beaucastel is a top contender.
Indeed the wines of Beaucastel must be given ample credit for Chateauneuf's global popularity. The Perrin family has, through hard work and smart investment, become one of the largest vineyard owning and wine producing families in France. But their flagship and original property is that of Beaucastel.
The wines produced at this Chateau epitomize "classic" Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The property is relatively large but all the vines have been farmed organically for over 50 years. The geology is classic galets (river stones) over sand, clay and limestone. The winemaking is also classic with a combination of oak and cement fermentation followed by extended aging in barrels before bottling.
The results are wines that are both powerful and rich yet balanced perfectly with structure and acidity. They age very well. The combination of fruit, weight and texture makes them recognizable to California wine lovers (another reason for CDP's popularity) yet they have gamey, savory undertones that make them unique and exotic.