Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010

  • power and richness that should drink nicely now with age
  • Great wine
  • The wine is perfectly balanced, fleshy, round, structured,
  • 1 or more bottles
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  • Robert Parker's
    92 points
  • Wine Enthusiast
    91 points

Editors notes

Château La Nerthe is a leading estate in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region of the southern Rhône Valley. The estate has been producing wine since the 12th Century, but its reputation has been largely earned by current proprietors the Richard family, who bought the property in a run-down state in 1985. The red wines are generally regarded as being more softly structured and more modern in style than some of the other top estates.

The estate boasts 92 hectares (227 acres) of vineyard, which have been certified organic since 1998. All 13 of the legal varieties for red Châteauneuf-du-Pape are planted, although production centers on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre.

The cellars, which date back to 1560, are dug directly into the rock beneath the property. Some of the original stone vats with meter-thick stone walls remain, and are now lined with epoxy resin. The château itself was built in 1736.

The vast majority of Château la Nerthe's production is devoted to red wines. These are fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, concrete and stone vats, and large wooden tanks. The small volume of white grapes harvested by the estate is commonly made in smaller barrels (barriques).

The Château La Nerthe red cuvée represents the bulk of production, making around 15,000 cases a year, while a recently introduced second wine, Clos de la Granière, accounts for about 5000 cases. Both are Grenache-dominant with smaller amounts of Mourvèdre and Syrah, and other permitted varieties, albeit mostly in small quantities.

La Nerthe also makes around 1500 cases a year of the Cuvée des Cadettes, a GSM blend made with fairly equal proportions of each variety. The estate makes two white wines from classic Rhône varieties including Roussanne, Clairette and Grenache Blanc.

The Richard family also owns Domaine de la Renjarde in the Côtes du Rhône Massif d'Uchaux appellation, and Prieuré de Monte in Tavel.


Tasting Profile

  • Light (Light)
    Full (Full)
  • Low Tannin (Low Tannin)
    Tannic (Tannic)
  • Sweet (Sweet)
    Dry (Dry)
  • Low Acidity (Low Acidity)
    High Acidity (High Acidity)
  • Aroma
    • Blackberry
    • Blueberry
    • White Pepper
  • Palate
    • Blackberry
    • Pepper
    • Tobacco

Food Pairings

  • Game
  • Poultry
  • Red Meat

Critic Scores & reviews

  • Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

    "The 2010 La Nerthe Chateauneuf du Pape exhibits the rare combination of unbridled power and freshness, minerality and abundant aromatics. A well-made, delicious red, with blueberry, boysenberry, black raspberry fruit, some background wood smoke, and the tell-tale Provencal garrigue, pepper and loamy soil notes, it is a wine of finesse, power and richness that should drink nicely for 10 to 15+ years."
  • Wine Enthusiast

    "The 2010 La Nerthe is a top vintage of this wine, which typically includes a decent proportion of Mourvèdre. It’s spicy and plummy in style, with notes of cinnamon and clove that add welcome complexity to the dark fruit. Drink it over the next 10 or more years."

Other vintages

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Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.

Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.

Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)

The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.

Rhone Valley

The Rhône Valley is in the South of France and is situated in the Rhône river valley. The region has been growing wines for centuries and is generally split into two sub-regions. In the Northern Rhône, Syrah is the predominant grape variety, though it is often blended with other white varieties like Marsanne, Rousanne and Viognier, or the red grape Mourvedre. In the Southern Rhône, a wide range of white, red and rosés are produced alongside the undisputed king of the Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

The Northern Rhône is cooler than the Southern Rhône and has a continental climate with warm summers and cold winter. The appellations from North to South are Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Château-Grillet, Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, Cornas and Saint-Péray.

In Southern Rhône, the climate is more Mediterranean, with mild winters and hot summers. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the most famous appellation but others include Côtes du Rhône, Gigondas and Lirac. Large pebbles are used in the region, placed at the base of the vines to absorb the suns heat during the day, to keep the vines warm at night.

Châteauneuf-du-Papes are blended from the 13 permitted grape varieties, though Grenache usually dominates, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre. These wines can be supremely rich and complex and typically warrant 5-10 years in the cellar for best results.


Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the largest AOC in the Southern Rhone and the oldest AOC in France is an historic village between Orange and Avignon in the southern Rhone Valley. It is renowned for producing gloriously rich red wines, reminiscent of the heat and herbs of the south.

Vineyards are typified by the large round 'galet' stones which assist in reflecting sun onto the untrained bush vines. The climate in CNDP is the driest of all Rhone appellations, a Mediterranean climate in which the dryness is accentuated by the wineries not being permitted (in all but extreme conditions) to irrigate their vines.

The wines have a depth of complexity which comes from blending several of the 14 permitted grape varieties. The varieties are: Grenache, Mouvedre, Syrah, Cinsault, Vaccarese, Counoise, Teret Noir, Muscadin, Picpoul Noir, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Rousanne, Picpoul Gris and Picardin. With red Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Grenache is generally the dominant varietal with Syrah and Mourvèdre in support. The white wines in the region are made from Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Roussanne, Bourboulenc and Picardin and represent barely a tenth of total production.

About the brand Chateau La Nerthe

Château La Nerthe is located in the heart of the Provence region in southeast France, about 80 km north of Marseille. It is a magical place thanks to its cellars dating back to the 16th century and belvedere viewpoint dominated by the 18th century chateau. Between Avignon and Orange, the breath-taking landmarks of Les Dentelles de Montmirail, Mount Ventoux and the Palais des Papes can be found.

The vines spread over 92 hectares of Châteauneuf du Pape appellation, parcelled into more than 57 plots and representing all the different terroirs of the appellation. The Chateau is striking and unforgettable, nestled in its green park, like an island surrounded by 60 hectares of ancient vineyards that form one whole piece. Yet despite its majestic air, the Chateau has always been a welcoming place, inviting one to linger and discuss its wines.

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