Posts Tagged ‘wineries in Châteauneuf-du-Pape’

Entrance to the Chateau La Nerthe

Château La Nerthe is one of the oldest wineries in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Established in the 12th Century, in the period when the popes were residing in Avignon and made Châteauneuf-du-Pape their summer residence as well as source for the mass wine. It was first documented though around 1560. Then it was known under different name (Grange de Beauvenir) and subsequently owned by various owners often coming from an aristocratic families.

Tranquille Chateau La Nerthe

The winery

The old winery was built in the 16th century. Here there are also stone tanks built into the walls about 1.20 meters thick, which have been used to age wines since the beginning of the production at the château. Some wines are still matured in these today and the other reds and some white grapes (Roussane, old Clairettes) are vinified as well as aged in large wood barrels typical for the traditional Châteauneuf-du-Pape reds. Only natural yeasts are used to initiate the fermentation process. The rest of the white grapes are matured in stainless steel tanks and subsequently blended. No malolactic fermentation is used in the production of the white wines as the winery aims to preserve freshness and fruity character of their wines.

The old winery

Inbuilt wine tank

The cellar & vinothèque

The oldest part of the cellar (built in 1560) was dug directly in the stone mineral wall containing cobalt (safre). You can see it above on the picture. It is very hard to clean, but it is meticulously being done by a dedicated person at the winery since the tanks are still in use.

There is a lovely arched cave housing the small as well as huge oak barrels, in which the wines are being aged.

A unique feature of  the cellar at Château La Nerthe is the “vinothèque“, holding the private reserves of some of the greatest chefs and restaurants.

The legendary chefs include Allain Ducasse and also supposedly the oldest restaurant in Paris – the La Tour d’Argent. They all have their golden nameplate above the wines that will once be featured on their wine lists.

The chef Alain Ducasse

The wines

The annual production of the Château la Nerthe is almost 300,000 bottles of red and 40,000 bottles of white wine. It is not a small winery, but not a giant making commercial wines. An average age of the vines is 40 years and the oldest ones are over 110 years old!

During my visit I have tasted one white blend and three reds:

Château La Nerthe 2011 A.O.C. Châteauneuf-du-Pape blanc – a white blend of Grenache blanc, Roussane, Bourboulenc and Clairette. partially matured in barrels and stainless steel vats.

The reds are usually a blend of Grenache noir, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Cinsault and a small proportion of other grapes included in the 13 allowed grapes in the A.O.C. Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The grapes are matured separately, some in large wooden casks and others in oak barrels. They are tasted separately and then blended to the winemaker’s satisfaction.

Château La Nerthe 2006 A.O.C. Châteauneuf-du-Pape rouge – had the highest percentage of Grenache from all the reds I have tried and it showed on the palate. Very deep and strong wine with misleading sweetness on the nose and vivid alcohol aftertaste. It is surely a food wine and needs a big chunk of meat to tame it a bit.

Château La Nerthe 2008 A.O.C. Châteauneuf-du-Pape rouge – my favorite as it was the most balanced wine here. It had an appealing cigar box on the nose, vibrant acidity and tannins on the palate with slight touch of dark fruits.

Château La Nerthe 2009 A.O.C. Châteauneuf-du-Pape rouge – the 2009 was an excellent vintage producing age-worthy wines with lots of fruits in the profile. In the case of this wine from Château La Nerthe it really needs the time to mellow its strong character. Now it is juicy, bursting with dark fruits, dominated by a more acidic blackberry.

After the tasting at the Château not only me, but also many other wine connoisseurs felt so light, exactly like the sculpture in the tasting room. (Pictured bellow) What a great piece of art!

Feeling like flying after the wine tasting.

Address: route de Sorgues  84230 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France
Contact: +33 (0) 4 90 83 70 11


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