Lives and Soil 泥土與生命
The region is famous for predominantly producing full-bodied red wines, with a small portion of white wines. No rosé is permitted to produce. To many people’s amazement, there are as many as 13 red and white grape varieties allowed under the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC appellation (Appellation d'origine contrôlée). Main red grapes include Grenache noir, Mourvèdre and Syrah while major white ones include Grenache Blanc and Roussanne.
產區以主要製造酒體飽滿的紅酒為名，白酒只佔非常少數，粉紅酒則被禁止製造。令人驚奇的是，在教皇新堡的AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée)分級下有多達13種紅和白葡萄品種被准許使用，主要紅葡萄包括Grenache noir、Mourvèdre及Syrah；白葡萄有Grenache Blanc和Roussanne。
Alternatively known as Garnacha in Spain, Grenache is one of the key components of the classic Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre blend of Châteauneuf-du-Pape red wines. It can withstand hot climate and therefore the alcohol level can sometimes be very high. It contributes alcohol, dark spice, fruitiness and jammy mouthfeel to the blend. A few wineries produce 100% Grenache wines.
Commonly planted in Australia under the name Shiraz, its French counterpart in southern Rhône Valley has developed distinctive characteristics although they are genetically identical. It provides acidity, dark fruits and structure to the blend that are absent from the other two varieties. Unlike northern Rhône regions such as Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie, Syrah-only wines are rare in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Mourvèdre (Monastrell in Spain) is best grown in warm climate. It is widely planted across the region and takes the highest proportion of many Châteauneuf-du-Pape red wines. This dark thick-skinned grape gives firm tannins, color, richness and meaty aroma to the blend.
Grenache Blanc is the mutation of the dark-skinned variety Grenache. It serves as a blending component in both red and white wines. There is an increasing trend to use Grenache Blanc as a varietal wine not only from Rhône Valley, but also in Spain and Roussillon in south of France. Grenache Blanc has low acidity, citrus and herbaceous flavors.
Grenache Blanc從擁有深色外皮的Grenache的基因突變誕生，它用於混合區內的紅及白酒。除了Rhône Valley，西班牙及南法的Roussillon亦有趨勢只用Grenache Blanc造酒。它有低酸度、柑橘及藥草味道。
Believed to originate from the north of Rhône, it is a crucial ingredient of white wine blends in Rhône Valley. Roussanne is also planted in small quantity in Châteauneuf-du-Pape to blend with red grapes. Interestingly, having realized the superb quality of the grape, some foreign winemakers tend to produce single Roussanne wines rather than following French people’s footstep.
The AOC regulation has defined the area of Orange to the north, Avignon to the south and east of Rhône river as Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The river brings the land Mediterranean climate. Southern Rhône Valley is very hot and sunny and is composed of a few types of soil. The most characteristic terroir is formed by pebbles. The small pieces of rock scatter around the vineyard, helping to keep the heat during daytime and release them at night. The process facilitates the ripening of grapes and allows grapes to rest at night to prevent over ripening. The long hours of sunshine also yield high alcohol level in the wines, typically 13-15%.