Dear Wine Ladies,
A small group of us get together every couple of months and more and more. Wine is becoming an important part of our socials. Last month we had a super red called Chateauneuf-du-Pape. I heard has to be made of thirteen different kinds of grapes. Is this right? I was also wondering if a white of this wine exists?
Oh, and I have to tell you, I totally enjoy tuning into your audio podcasts. I love all your amazing guests!
No, it is not obligatory to use all thirteen grape varieties when producing a Chateauneuf-du-Pape. However, up to thirteen varieties are permitted. In 1923 the Baron Le Roy of Chateau Fortia, a vigneron of that time in Chateauneuf-du-Pape got together with the other growers and drew up a set of rules for the production of these wines.
Actually the entire appellation system (appellation d’origine controlee) in France as we know it today, was fashioned after this very set of regulations. Apart from dictating minimum alcohol content (12.5%, the highest in France) and defining an area as permitted to be included in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the Baron also included in the rules ten permissible grape varieties. In 1936 three additional grape varieties were added to the list bringing the total to thirteen. The most prominent grape variety is grenache, with mourvedre and syrah (Shiraz as many know it) in second and third place.