Thursday, July 13, 2017

Chateau Neuf Du Pape day 2


Today we visited the actual village of Chateau Neuf du Pape. It felt really special. Unlike other villages in Provence like Roussillon, Gordes,  Fontaine de Vaucluse or Isle de Sorge, there are a lot fewer tourists in the actual village of Chateau Neuf du Pape. That was surprising because it also has an amazing view and a lot of charm.

Overall Provence feels calm, quiet, warm, relaxing. It is probably among the best vacations we ever had. The food is amazing. The wine is even more amazing. And its diversity stands out.

1. Vergers des Papes.

The good: it is free, and the two tasters are extremely informative. In 15 minutes they really explain to you everything you need to know as basics about Chateau Neuf du Paper AOC, wines, region, wine makers, grapes... Everything.

What makes the Appelation d'Origines Controlee unique? Apparently it was the 1st one in France in 1936. Why is the wine special here? Apparently because when the popes used to live in Avignon they wanted nice wine (the church used a lot of wine) so they helped develop the wine in the region.

And what else is special about this AOC? They can use 13 grapes:
The best known one is Grenache which is the majority of the production. They also use Syrah, Mourvedre,  Roussanne, Clairette. But also a bunch I had never heard of: Cinsault, Counoise, Vaccarese, Picpoul, Muscardin, Bourboulenc, Terret Noir and Picardon.

And each wine maker decides who many go in each wine. So wines can go from 100% Grenache to 13 grapes. The old stile Chateau Neuf are made of all 13 grapes and farily strong ( Think: Chateau Nerthe) and the new style can be anything, soft and simple and elegant.

We tried a white Chateau Neuf ( only 6% of production) made of all 6 white grapes they have ( including white Grenach) , one new style Chateau Neuf (very new , 2016 vintage, needed more time to really express) and a 2009 Chateau Neuf as well. The bottles were really cheap by the way , around 25 Euros each.

Over all, the price to quality of the wine we tried was not bad but it did feel like the wine they sell to tourists in the tourist center because nobody else wanted to buy it.

The bad and the ugly: well all you taste here is 3 wines. That's it. And it's clearly made for tourists. So worth a stop perhaps if you are in the village already.

2. Les Girard du Boucou , Chateau Neuf du Pape,

On the way to the car from the Vergers des Papers I did have to stop by another winery and I picked the one that seemed artisanal and had the door open in a very friendly way. Great choice !
We were welcomed by the vinter's wife who was very polite.
We tasted their whites, and 3 reds. And we left with 9 magnums as some of their best wines were only left in magnums. And once you buy 3 magnums it's easier to pack only magnums than alternating normal bottles and magnums.

So I am really excited. With a case of Janasse from Day 1 and 9 magnums ( practically 1.5 cases) from Boucou, I think it's a good start.

But hontesly I feel we barely scratched the surface and 90% of the wine in the region is still to be explored. I think it's even richer then the wine from Burgundy and more diverse and I like it better. And then there is also the northern Vallee du Rhone, and Baume de Venise, and so much more!

I will be back and at least for a week and I will get more wine, for sure!

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