Vidal-Fleury Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Vidal Fleury was founded in 1781 as a wine grower and proprietor of vineyards in the Cote Rotie. With more than two centuries of continuous operation, it's undisputedly the oldest functioning winery and wine firm in the Rhone Valley.
Founder Joseph Vidal strove to produce wines that expressed the typicity of the various soils and to achieve the highest degree of quality possible. True to the founder's goals. the winery continues to produce wines that are the finest expression of their appelation. Today Vidal Fleury offers a comprehensive range of red, white and rose wines from the Rhone Valley. Recognizing the enormous potential of Vidal Fleury and the value of its brand, the successful Rhone winemaker Marcel Guigal bought the company in 1986. Modern equipment in a spotless environment is used to implement the traditional methods in winemaking.
All red wines and selected white wines are matured adn aged in oak barrels and casks. Selected cuvees are aged in new oak for part or all of the maturation process.
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, Châteauneuf-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 Châteauneuf-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 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is white wine. 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.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.