Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes Roussanne 2008

France - Rhone

About the Region

The best-known appellation in the Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape takes its name from the castle built here by Pope John XXII in the 14th century, when the Papacy moved temporarily from Rome to nearby Avignon. Both red and white wines are produced, and some 18 grape varieties are permitted. The predominant red variety is grenache, with mourvèdre and syrah also important. Other permitted red varieties are cinsault, counoise, muscardin, piquepoul noir, terret noir, and vaccarèse; white varieties are bourboulenc, clairette blanche, clairette rose, grenache blanc, grenache gris, picardan, piquepoul blanc, piquepoul gris, and roussanne. White wine grapes are permitted in red wines and vice versa. Some producers produce reds that are 95 to 100 percent grenache and some use at least token quantities of 13 or 14 varieties, but nobody puts them all into one wine and most examples are blends of three or four varieties. The clay soil in the northern reaches of the appellation is virtually invisible, being covered with large round pebbles called galets roulés; these reflect the sunlight and retain heat, hastening the ripening of the grapes. The character of the wines varies according to the varieties used, but the reds can range from almost Burgundian elegance to ripe power and intensity of flavor; the whites are known for their structure and complexity. Château de Beaucastel and Domaine du Vieux-Télègraphe are two of the most famous producers.