Look no further.
Forever entwined with papal history, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (AOC) is one of the most renowned and popular appellations of the enchanting Rhône Valley. Indeed, Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine and its surrounding namesake region is loosely translated as “The Pope’s New Castle.”
In 1308, Pope Clemens V moved the papacy from Rome to Avignon, ushering in the seventy-year era of the Avignon Papacy. Of course, there are many explanations for the relocation (such as security and stability while Rome was undergoing various upheavals). But the so-called Avignon popes were also said to be avid wine-drinkers, and promoted the local wines there (along with other French wine like Burgundy). Pope John XXII (who canonized St. Thomas Aquinas) also built the castle (now castle ruins), which sometimes stands in as a symbol for the iconic appellation.
Hundreds of years later, in 1923, it was the first wine to be introduced as an Appellation Contrôlée, the precursor to apellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC). Naturally, it is not just its historical significance that makes Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines such a delightful appellation.
Grown over about 8,000 acres, wine production here accounts for more than all the wines produced in the Northern Rhône Valley combined. Châteauneuf-du-Pape, grown in the Southern Rhône, enjoys frequent sunshine and mistral winds to carry away moisture and thus, intensify the dry climates.