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France, Chateauneuf-du-Pape

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.
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, Mourvèdre, 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.
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  1. Domaine Charvin Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2011
    Domaine Charvin is a southern Rhône producer based in the famous village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Its wines are mostly Grenache-dominant blends, with smaller amounts of Syrah, Mourvèdre, Vaccarese, Bourboulenc and Carignan. The domaine was established in 1851 in Châ ... Learn More
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    Vinous
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    Jeb Dunnuck
  2. Domaine de Cristia Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2007
    Domaine de Cristia is a wine estate located in Courthézon, in the eastern reaches of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The vineyards are dominated by Grenache, alongside Syrah and Mourvèdre, as well as white grape varieties like Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Roussanne ... Learn More
    pts
    Robert Parker
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    Wine Spectator
  3. Domaine De La Janasse Chateauneuf Du Pape 2016
    This wonderful estate is run by brother-sister team of Christophe and Isabelle Sabon, though their father (who celebrates his 50th vintage with this 2016 harvest) lends his ample experience. "As autumn is drawing to a close and the wine presses have ... Learn More
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    The Wine Advocate
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    Vinous
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    Wine Spectator
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    Gary Walsh
  4. Delas Freres Cote Rotie Seigneur de Maugiron 2010
    Delas Frères is an estate based in the northern Rhône Valley, particularly known for its Syrah-based wines from the Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie and Crozes-Hermitages appellations. The Delas family have been involved in the production of wine in ... Learn More
    pts
    Robert Parker
  5. Jean-Luc Jamet Cote Rotie 'Terrasses' 2015
    The bouquet is bold, on beef stock, iron, dense black berries, has a poised, integral sweetness, airs of raspberry liqueur, oak smoke. It’s a solid start. The palate has the theme of mineral well placed through it, a lot ... Learn More
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    Josh Raynolds
  6. Château La Nerthe "Cuvée des Cadettes" Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2010
    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 ... Learn More
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    Robert Parker
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    Stephen Tanzer
  7. Andre Brunel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Cailloux 2007 (1.5L)
    Domaine André Brunel - Les Cailloux is a wine estate located in the Rhône Valley in southern France. Best known for its Châteauneuf-du-Pape bottlings, it also produces Côtes du Rhône and IGP Vaucluse wines. The Brunel ... Learn More
    pts
    Robert Parker
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    Jeb Dunnuck
  8. Clos du Mont Olivet "Cuvée des Papet" Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2012
    Clos du Mont-Olivet is located in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France and has been producing red and white wines from the region since 1932. The estate is owned by the Sabon family and is managed by third-generation family members Celine, David and Thierry ... Learn More
    pts
    Robert Parker
    pts
    Stephen Tanzer
  9. Domaine De La Janasse Chateauneuf Du Pape 'Vieilles Vignes 2017
    This wonderful estate is run by brother-sister team of Christophe and Isabelle Sabon, though their father (who celebrates his 50th vintage with this 2016 harvest) lends his ample experience. 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah, 5% other. Years of plantation : 40% 1920, 40% 1965, 10% 1976, 10% 1993. This cuvée comes ... Learn More
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    The Wine Advocate
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    Gary Walsh
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    Wine Spectator
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    Vinous
  10. Delas Freres Cote Rotie Seigneur de Maugiron 2009 (1.5L)
    Delas Frères is an estate based in the northern Rhône Valley, particularly known for its Syrah-based wines from the Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie and Crozes-Hermitages appellations. The Delas family have been involved in the production of wine in ... Learn More
    pts
    Robert Parker
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    Wine Spectator
  11. Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2011
    Paul Avril Clos des Papes is a wine producer in the Rhône Valley, making one of the most sought-after wines in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC. The estate is made up of 24 small plots throughout the appellation totalling 32 hectares (79 acres). ... Learn More
    pts
    Robert Parker
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    Stephen Tanzer
  12. Domaine de Cristia Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 2010 (1.5L)
    Domaine de Cristia is a wine estate located in Courthézon, in the eastern reaches of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The vineyards are dominated by Grenache, alongside Syrah and Mourvèdre, as well as white grape varieties like Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Roussanne ... Learn More
    pts
    Robert Parker
    pts
    Wine Spectator
  13. Domaine de la Charbonniere Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Speciale 'Les Hautes Brusquieres' 2010 (1.5L)
    Jammy blackberry, stone, earth, Provencal herbs, black raspberry jam and spice aromas are all over the place. This voluptuous, full bodied wine finishes with a big mouthful of sweet, jammy berries and kirsch. This is worth buying by the case! ... Learn More
  14. Delas Freres Cote-Rotie La Landonne 2006 (1.5L)
    Delas Frères is an estate based in the northern Rhône Valley, particularly known for its Syrah-based wines from the Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie and Crozes-Hermitages appellations. The Delas family have been involved in the production of wine in ... Learn More
    pts
    Robert Parker
    pts
    Wine Spectator
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