Châteauneuf-du-Pape is climatically the transition point from northern Rhône to southern Rhône. A bit warmer than the neighboring regions to the north, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is also known for its unique soils - especially its galets, which are large, round stones that cover the ground. These stones gather the heat during the day and reflect it back at night, which helps the grapes ripen.
White Châteauneuf-du-Pape is made of varying blends of Bourboulenc, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Picpoul, and Roussanne. Côtes du Rhône
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is surrounded by Côtes du Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages and several crus with their own appellations.
Basic Côtes du Rhône is similar in general character, but has little of the concentration and depth of flavor of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The wines are lighter, in part because the terroir is not as fine, but also because the yields are higher. Côtes du Rhône is sometimes made using carbonic maceration, a technique that gives deeply colored wines with lots of fruit, but little tannin or structure, but most quality producers stick to traditional winemaking methods.
Côtes du Rhône Villages wines have a bit more concentration and character because of lower mandatory yields. Names of the more well-known Côtes du Rhône Villages include Cairanne, Rasteau and Beaumes de Venise.
One addition to the grapes of Châteauneuf-du-Pape is Carignan, a black grape that yields well and gives deeply colored, spicy wine with high alcohol. Clairette Rosé and Ugni Blanc are two more additions, with a maximum of 5% of white grapes in the red wine and 20% in the rosé.Other Wines of the Southern Rhône
Other wines of the southern Rhône with appellations of their own include: Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Lirac. In these areas, the grape blend is limited to Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Clairette. The quality of the top wines can approach that of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Tavel is an appellation for rosé only, usually made from Grenache and Cinsault.
Other regional appellations in this area include Coteaux du Tricastin, Côtes du Ventoux, Côtes du Luberon, and Coteaux de Pierrevert. These areas are all relatively similar to Côtes du Rhone, and use similar grape blends, as do the main vin de pays appellations: Ardèche, Drôme, Gard, Loire, Rhône and Vaucluse. Northern Rhône producers can use Collines Rhodaniennes, and those around Châteauneuf can use la Principauté d’Orange.
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