Louis Bernard Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2006
Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
- red wine
- Smooth & Supple
- 14.5% abv
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the most prestigious southern Rhône wine. It was here that the appellation contrôlée system began in 1923, when a group of local winemakers, led by Baron Le Roy, drew up a charter of six stipulations to regulate and safeguard the quality of their table wines. Decades later, the laws of the appellation contrôlée system remain largly unchanged.
The Templiers originally planted vines in the region in the 12th century. Two hundred years later, it was the papacy of Avignon that continued the winemaking tradition. It was the new chateau (château neuf) completed by Pope John XXII in 1333 for which the wines of this region and the city itself are named.
At its best, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a broad, generous, sinewy wine showing a range of dark, fruity flavors. The wines derive their uniqueness from several sources. The round red and cream-colored stones and galets, left by ancient Alpine glaciers, absorb heat throughout the day and then reflect it onto the vines during the cool nights. As a result, the grapes reach maximum maturity. Furthermore, the vines here benefit from the cleansing winds of the mistral, which keep them dry and free of undesirable diseases.
Grenache accounts for 60% of the vines planted here, but because it can be unbalanced on its own, another 12 varietals (including five white ones) are permitted for use in making red wines. Châteuneuf-du-Pape white represents only 5% of the total appelation and is also a blend of up to six varietals. Yields are limited to 2.59 tons per acre.
Louis Bernard Winery
Since 1976, Louis Bernard has united winemakers of the Rhone Valley in a common project: to devote the best of their wine and savoir-faire to producing great wines. With production throughout the Cotes du Rhone region, Louis Bernard remains dedicated to showcasing the unique characteristics of each terroir while producing exquisite, world-class wines.
La Chartreuse de Bonpas is a medieval fortified convent located near Avignon in the Provence region of France, on the Durance River. According to legend, the area was originally called "Maupas" (bad passage) because it was dominated by dangerous bandits. In the 12th century, a holy man named Sibertius arrived with soldiers, built a convent, and chased away the evil bandits. Thus, the name was changed from "Maupas" to "Bonpas" (good passage) and became known as a safe haven allowing travelers a secure crossing of the Durance River .
Today, this historic monument is surrounded by 45 acres of A.O.C. Cotes du Rhone vineyards and is home to Louis Bernard. Visitors can tour the chapel, stroll in the beautiful French-style gardens, and enjoy wine tasting in the ancient cellar.
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(shah-too-NUHF due Pahp)
Photo of galets covering the soil at Chateau de BeaucastelSouthern Rhone's landmark region, Chateauneuf du Pape, was the first region to gain AC status in France. That was the 1920s – it's history goes much further back than that. As the name suggests, the wine region was named after the "new papal home," referring to the period of time in the 1300's when the pope resided in Avignon instead of Rome.
Notable Facts There are 13 allowed varieties in Chateauneuf du Pape (14 if you count Grenache Blanc separately from Grenache Noir). Grenache is the primary variety, followed by Syrah and Mourvedre as well as Cinsault. About 97% of the wines here are red, although many chateaux are producing whites ranging from quaffable to decadent and ageworthy. Reds from the best estates emit wonderful flavors of gamey spice, blackberries and currant, as well as the herbs and spices that are known to grow in the region.
Note on the soil: The grapes grow on soils covered in rounded, smooth stones called galets (gah-lay). The stones naturally cover most of the soils throughout Chateauneuf du Pape and are two fold in their duties. First, they are able to reflect and absorb the heat, to quicken the ripening of the grapes. They also help to hold in moisture so that the soils are not dried out by the hot Southern French sun.
About France - Other regions
When it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and
Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.