4. From Aix-en-Provence: Châteauneuf du Pape Wineries Day Trip
Châteauneuf du Pape Wine tour The Châteauneuf du Pape Appellation was one of 6 to be labeled as the first AOC wines of France in 1936. The vineyards planted by the Romans were extended and developed by the Pope's residing in Avignon popes during the 14th century. In 1314, Clement V, the first Avignon Pope discovered the special soil of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. His successor, John XXII supports him and it was during his reign that the vineyard really took off and spread fame beyond the borders of “The Comtat”. The former bishop of Avignon, Jacques Duèse was elected as Pope John XII and succeeded Clement V in 1316. He regularly drank the wines from the vineyards ‘in the north’ and did much to improve viticulture practices there. The Pope sought a place sufficiently far from the city to discourage courtiers, sycophants, and scroungers, yet close enough so that a courier could go there and back to Avignon on the same day. The ideal spot was found on a hillock overlooking the Rhône Valley about halfway between Avignon and Orange – Châteauneuf – and this area was placed directly under his authority. As you reach this famous wine producing region, discover the village and its ancient castle that was the summer residence of the Pope's during their stay in the area. Here, you will enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view on the valley. Morning Wine tasting session in a local Winery The Chateauneuf du Pape wines are well known for their full bodied red wines made predominantly with different grape varieties such as Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre that are typical grapes that can be found in the southern vineyards of France. There are also some white Châteauneuf du Pape wines that are intensely perfumed. The grape varieties used for the white wines include Grenache Blanc, Rousannes, Clairette and Bourboulenc many of which are rustic french varietals. Upon arrival in the village, it will be time to taste some of the local wines in a local winery. Then, you will have some free time to roam around and enjoy a wine tour of Chateauneuf du Pape wines in the old 14th century pope cellars. Depending on your wishes, it will be possible to taste more wines in the local wineries that your guide can point to. Lunch in a local restaurant After your morning Chateauneuf du Pape wine tour, it will be time for lunch.Your guide will suggest different options so don't hesitate to ask for suggestions. Afternoon wine tasting session in a local Winery After lunch, experience your second Chateauneuf du Pape winery tour. Listen about the history of this unique domain, visit the installations and participate in a commented tasting of the wines of the estate. Take the opportunity to ask about the wine making process, the different bledings that are possible and most of all learn about the large range of grape varieties that can be used to make this exceptional wines. After the wine tasting tour, we will take you back to Aix en Provence and that will be the end of our services.