OF CHÂTEAUNEUF DU PAPE
1157, Geoffrey, Bishop of Avignon, owns some vineyard parcels in Châteauneuf
Calcenier  and in 1308, Clement V, the first Pope in Avignon, had
a few acres of vines planted, parcels that then grew under Pope John
XXII, his successor: these lands were to become the winegrowing core
of Châteauneuf du Pape. The same John XXII is precisely the
first to have called Châteauneuf wine: The wine of the
Pope, and it is under his reign thet the famous plots of Châteauneuf
were planted: Mont Redon, Maupertuis, Fagueirol, Cabrières,
Beau-Renard, Bois Sénéchaux.
After the Popes had left Avignon and returned to the Vatican in Rome,
the wine business was managed by the bishops and later by the archbishops
of Avignon. In 1727, they wrote to the consuls to prevent early wine
harvesting from damaging the quality of the wine.
Quite notably, in 1737, the winemakers of Châteauneuf du Pape
requested authorization to be allowed the marking of their barrels
with the CDR (Côte du Rhône) seal, as were the neighbouring
villages of Tavel, Lirac, Saint Laurent des Arbres, Saint Génies
de Comolas, Montfaucon and Roquemaure, by royal decree. Royal power
declined this authorization, and it is quite difficult to say if the
criteria for refusal were only motivated by quality!
In 1750, Châteauneuf du Pape vineyards spread over 650 hectares,
then 668 in 1800, by that time the wine was known and sold throughout
France but also abroad, in Italy-Rome and the Vatican, England, Germany,
the United States. In the late 19th century, Frédéric
Mistral and his friend Alphonse Daudet were the bards who sang the
wine of Châteauneuf. But the rejoicing, fame and wealth of its
inhabitants and wine growers didn't last long: the phylloxera struck
its lands as it had everywhere else in 1870, ruining the local economy.
The parry was found by transplanting an American vine: in 1900 the
vineyard once again extends over 600 hectares, and launched a reconquest
of the lost markets. However, this success attracted imitators who
made mediocre wines under the illegitimate name of Châteauneuf,
damaging the real appellations reputation. In 1923, a group
of wine growers call upon the baron Le Roy de Boiseaumarie to create
a syndicate of Châteauneuf wine growers, launching a process
that will make the appellation one of the strictest in France, in
terms of geographical delimitation, yield control, and grapes sorting.
In June 1929, the delimitation trial is won and in 1937 the ancestor
of the INAO confirms these prescriptions by law.
efforts for quality have been persistent and are today shared by a
large number of wine growers: this quality has not gone unnoticed,
and great wine reviewers and critiques as Thierry Dessauve or Robert
Parker have acknowledged that, when the wine is successful, it is
one of the 10 greatest wines in France.
Châteauneuf will officially bear the name Châteauneuf
Calcenier until 1893, but popular usage has used Châteauneuf
du Pape long before.
Châteauneuf du Pape, Michel Dovaz, Editions Jacques Legrand,
Les vins du Rhône et de la Méditerranée, Editions
Montalba, by a group of authors, amongst whom: Jean Giono Marie Mauron
Henri Bosco and Pierre Charnay, 1978.