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Châteauneuf-du-Pape (CdP) is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in the southern Rhône wine region. With 8,000+ acres under vine, it is the largest appellation in the Rhône, producing mainly two wines, a red CdP (>90% of production) and a white CdP. 
Of the eight red varietals planted, Grenache is the dominant variety followed by Syrah and Mourvèdre, while the most important white varietals include Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc and Roussanne.
The grapes grow on soils covered in rounded, smooth stones called galets (gah-lay). The stones naturally cover most of the soils throughout CdP and serve two purposes. First, they are able to absorb the heat, to quicken the ripening of the grapes. Next, they help to hold in moisture so that the soils are not dried out by the hot Southern French sun. CdP vineyards are typically farmed organically or biodynamically, and the region's abundant sunshine and frequent wind help minimize the use of herbicides or pesticides.
Here's an interesting story about CdP: Before wine critic Robert Parker discovered CdP it was considered a rather old-fashioned wine; something that dad or granddad drank. However Parker's influence increased the coverage and following of CdP wines many fold and in gratitude, the CdP Winemakers Union pushed for his becoming an honorary citizen of the village.
All images are sourced from Wikimedia Commons and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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