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Châteauneuf-du-Pape Wine at Domaine de la Charbonnière

A Visit to Châteauneuf-du-Pape

One of many things that attracted us to Sablet was its location in the Côtes du Rhône and proximity to world-renown wine villages such as Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. We like all the wines from this area, but our favourites are Châteauneuf-du-Papes, and we go there often. Hey, it’s only 15 miles away.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a small medieval village on the side of a hill, guarded by the ruins of an ancient chateau towering above. From the chateau hill, you have an outstanding view in all directions, mostly of vineyards and of the Rhône River 1.9 miles to the east. The village is between Avignon (7.5 miles to the south) and Orange (6.6 miles to the north).

As its name suggests, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is closely linked to several Popes. As early as 1157, faithful to Roman customs, Bishop Geoffroy of Avignon planted and cultivated a vineyard in his Châteauneuf territory. In 1308, Clement V also planted vines, thereby becoming one of the first winemakers in Châteauneuf. Continue reading here for Michel’s contributor blog post by Our House in Provence to discover one of their top picks for vineyards in the area.

Domaine de la Charbonnière

Of the original Pope’s castle, not much is standing today. The combination of time, the ravages of the French Revolution and the German’s retreating blow at the end of WWII. However, what remains is a vibrant village that is the heart of this renowned wine Appellation d’origine Contrôlé (AOC). To receive the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC designation, the wines produced in the region must adhere to the rules. The grapes used in the wine blends must be from the 13 approved varietals.

One of Michel and Shirley’s favourite vineyards is Domaine de la Charbonnière, an organic vineyard run by Maret family.

Domaine de la Charbonnière (website)
26 Route de Courthézon
84230 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Other Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vineyards

The Southern Rhône Valley was created by geological changes and volcanic eruptions. The soil varieties left behind from this violent environmental activity ranges from sandy to limestone to clay. It is this diverse topsoil in combination with bedrock that creates an excellent terroir for cultivating grape varietals. The distinctive feature of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC is the mix of sandy, well-drained soil and land covered in red rocks or galets roulés. Read the Wines of Provence Understanding the Colours and Terminology.

Worth a read is Jill Barth’s interview with the winemaker at Domaine Duseigneur.

Keith Van Sickle recommends attending the annual wine fair in Châteauneuf-du-Pape the Salon des Vins takes place the first weekend in April. This fair is your chance to sample wine from 90 domaines in the area. There are masterclasses, a gourmet market and other special events during the weekend.

Maps of the vineyards, biking routes and more are available from the tourist office.

Tourist Office (website)
3 Rue de la République
84230 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

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Michel and Shirley

Michel and Shirley

Michel and Shirley, live in wine country, in Windsor, California. They have a full family with two beautiful daughters and five amazing grandchildren. Michel's day job is as CEO of Chancellor Health Care, a company which provides housing and services to older adults.

Previously a co-owner of a popular French bistro called Bistro des Copains located in Western Sonoma County California. The Bistro was closed in early 2015, after nine years!

In 2008, after searching for years and visiting many houses they bought a 17th century stone village house in the medieval village of Sablet which is in the Vaucluse region of Provence France.

Please read about the Sablet House (available for rent) and follow their blog Our House in Provence.

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