In the 14th century, the Popes built a residence in Châteauneuf, far from the drama of the court of Avignon. Pope John XXII built the fortress of which today only the ruins remain. Besotted with Châteauneuf wine, the Pope expanded the vineyard and ensured its reputation was kept alive. With the following centuries came a reinforcement of papal viticulture and 1929 saw the official emergence of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC. The appellation enjoys diversity in terms of soil and land, made up of staggered plateaux and terraces where one of the geological defining characteristics is the presence of large smooth pebbles that trap the heat of the sun in the day, releasing it at night. This phenomenon ensures grapes reach a high stage of maturity. The appellation also stands out by the combination of its thirteen grape varieties that each wine-maker mixes and matches to create each wine's specific personality. Alongside the traditional Grenache, a growing proportion of Syrah and Mourvèdre can be found, both of which develop complex red fruit, wood and fine leather aromas. Red Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines expand and reach their full potential between their third and fifth years, but their ageing potential can extend up to ten years and more depending on the vintages in question and storage conditions. Their intense colour can vary from a garnet purple shade in young wines to a rich ruby colour when they reach full maturity. These are structured wines with a powerful and complex nose featuring ripe fruit, mushrooms, truffles, undergrowth and spiced, wild, animalistic notes.
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