Honeymoon in France – Day 7 South of France – Tour of Chateuneuf du Pape

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I love wine. Especially reds and even more especially Chateuneuf du Pape reds. Here’s a bit of wine education for you. Chateuneuf is an AOC area within the Rhone Valley that is governed by rules and regulations set to protect the quality of the Chateuneuf wines and their name. Each winemaker wanting to sell his wine under the prestigious Chateuneuf du Pape label needs to follow a strict set of rules for the wine production and even bottling. Grenache is the main grape used in the wines, with the Syrah variety being the most popular addition. Only 13 grape varieties are allowed to be used for the production of Chateuneuf and it’s up to the winemakers expertise and knowledge to blend the different grapes into one outstanding product.

Chateuneuf is the highest quality Cotes du Rhone wine you can buy with Cotes du Rhone villages wines claiming an inferior second place. The lowest quality wines are labelled Cotes du Rhone. Generally, in the UK, only the red Chateuneuf is available, but the white exists as well. However, only 5% of the total production is white wines.

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The bottle below is a 2007 Chateuneuf special and the best wine we’ve ever tasted. At 55€ it’s definitely the most expensive one as well. We saved that for another time and decided that £100 for 6 bottles of wine is enough for a day.

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After our trip to some of the vineyards and the wine museum (which is free) we followed a local’s recommendation and went to Le Pistou for lunch. It was delicious! Brian went for a steak with peppercorn sauce and I had the beef carpaccio at a very resonable 16€ and 17€ respectively. I would happily recommend Le Pistou if you’re ever in the area. It gets really busy for lunch though, so it might be worthwhile making a reservation.

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We head back to Avignon to visit the famous half bridge of Avignon and the Papal Palace in daytime and then watch the world go by (and a fight amongst Avignon’s finest) before heading back to the hotel.

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