“Chateauneuf Du Pape!” Anyone who’s ever watched Only Fools and Horses will have heard Delboy shouting this one out when something’s not gone great for him and his brother Rodney. Such is the fame of the AOC, it even made it into Delboy’s script! It’s definitely the most famous in the Southern Rhône.
For any wine-o’s out there who like their Syrah and Grenache blends, the rest of the appellations of the Southern Rhône will be good mates by now. The Southern Rhône is the vineyard are that flanks the Rhône river down to the Mediterranean. It’s hot, it’s dry, and it’s not bad at all for the summer holidays.
Slightly inland, there’s an AOC called Gigondas, which has become, slightly unfairly, known as the ‘baby brother’ of Chateauneuf.
The wines made there are dominated by the red wine grape, Grenache. Grenache is famous for two things; red fruit flavours, and lots of alcohol. Syrah, Mouvedre, and others all go into the blend too to add body and colour, but it’s very usually Grenache that runs the show.
The thing about Gigondas is that it’s pretty high up in the Rhône valley. You’re looking about 600 metres above sea level here. Remember that mountain ranges add a bit of coolness in otherwise really hot regions, so the fruits will be fresh rather than jammy, and the long growing season keeps the acidity. Put it this way, it’s going to be really refreshing to drink.
I can’t wait to give it a go!