Castle ruin in Châteauneuf-du-Pape
|Intercommunality||Pays de Rhône et Ouvèze|
|• Mayor (2001–2008)||Jean-Pierre Boisson|
|• Land1||25.85 km2 (9.98 sq mi)|
|• Population2 density||83/km2 (220/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||84037 / 84230|
|Elevation||20–130 m (66–427 ft)
(avg. 117 m or 384 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (September 2008)|
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is firmly entwined with papal history. In 1308, Pope Clement V, former Archbishop of Bordeaux, relocated the papacy to the city of Avignon. Clement V and subsequent "Avignon Popes" were said to be great lovers of wine and did much to promote it during the seventy-year duration of the Avignon Papacy. At the time, winegrowing around the town of Avignon was anything but illustrious. While the Avignon Papacy did much to advance the reputation of wines from Burgundy, the papacy also promoted viticulture in the surrounding area, more specifically the area 5 to 10 kilometres (3 to 6 miles) north of Avignon, close to the banks of the Rhône River. Prior to the Avignon Papacy, viticulture of the area had been initiated and maintained by the Bishops of Avignon, largely for local consumption.
Clement V was succeeded by John XXII, who regularly drank the wines from the vineyards to the north, as well as Burgundy wine, and did much to improve viticultural practices there. Under John XXII, the wines of this area came to be known as Vin du Pape; this term later became Châteauneuf-du-Pape. John XXII is also responsible for erecting the famous castle that stands as a symbol for the appellation, and the name means "the Pope's new castle".
The village and three other surrounding communes produce wine, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in the southern Rhône wine region. Unlike its northern Rhône neighbors, Châteauneuf-du-Pape permits thirteen different varieties of grape; the blend is usually predominantly Grenache. Other red grapes include Cinsault, Counoise, Mourvèdre, Muscardin, Syrah, Terret noir, and Vaccarèse. White grapes include Grenache blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picardan, Roussanne, and Picpoul. In recent years, the trend has been to include fewer (or even none) of the allowed white varieties and rely heavily (or solely) upon the Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah. One may suspect that this is a response to international wine-market trends and the desire to have this sometimes-rustic wine appeal to a broader commercial audience.
Before wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr. began promoting them, the wines of Châteauneuf were considered rustic and of limited appeal. However, his influence increased their price more than fourfold in a decade. In gratitude, the Châteauneuf Winemakers Union pushed for his becoming an honorary citizen of the village.
Twin towns - Sister cities
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is twinned with:
- McCoy, Elin. The Emperor of Wine: the Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste. New York: HarperCollins, 2005.
- Echikson, Tom. Noble Rot. NY: Norton, 2004.
- MacNeil, Karen. The Wine Bible. NY: Workman Publishing, 2001.
- Robinson, Jancis, ed. (1999). "Châteauneuf-du-Pape". The Oxford Companion to Wine (2nd ed.). winepros.com.au.
- Federation Châteauneuf-du-Pape, official
- Côte du Rhône and Rhône Valley AOC wines Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Rhône Valley AOC wines
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