Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee des Cadettes 2004
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Because of the use of small barriques, especially 100% of them for the top-notch Cuvee des Cadettes Chateauneuf du Pape, I suppose it's popular to say that La Nerthe is a modern style of Chateauneuf du Pape, but I would prefer to use the word "progressive." That's largely because this is an estate where the new oak is not overdone, due mostly to their use of so much Mourvedre and Syrah in the final blend. In fact, other than Beaucastel and Clos St.-Michel, La Nerthe is the only other estate in Chateauneuf du Pape to use so much Mourvedre in their wines, which obviously provides structure. Moreover, the Mourvedre can handle barriques.
Famous for its full-bodied, seductive and spicy reds with flavor and aroma characteristics reminiscent of black cherry, baked raspberry, garrigue, olive tapenade, lavender and baking spice, Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the leading sub-appellation of the southern Rhône River Valley. Large pebbles resembling river rocks, called "galets" in French, dominate most of the terrain. The stones hold heat and reflect it back up to the low-lying gobelet-trained vines. Though the galets are typical, they are not prominent in every vineyard. Chateau Rayas is the most obvious deviation with very sandy soil.
According to law, eighteen grape varieties are allowed in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and most wines are blends of some mix of these. For reds, Grenache is the star player with Mourvedre and Syrah coming typically second. Others used include Cinsault, Counoise and occasionally Muscardin, Vaccarèse, Picquepoul Noir and Terret Noir.
Only about 6-7% of wine from Chateauneuf-du-Pape is white. Blends and single-varietal bottlings are typically based on the soft and floral Grenache Blanc but Clairette, Bourboulenc and Roussanne are grown with some significance.
The wine of Chateauneuf-du-Pape takes its name from the relocation of the papal court to Avignon. The lore says that after moving in 1309, Pope Clément V (after whom Chateau Pape-Clément in Pessac-Léognan is named) ordered that vines were planted. But it was actually his successor, John XXII, who established the vineyards. The name however, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, translated as "the pope's new castle," didn’t really stick until the 19th century.