Friday, April 18, 2008


With the Pope in the country this week, it's a good time to look at the French wine known as Chateauneuf du Pape. The Culpeper Times in Virginia had this story and I thought it was worth sharing...

Wines of the Pope

It’s Pope MANIA here in DC these days. As a Roman Catholic, I’m loving it –and loving that my Pope is here. So, I’m adding to the mania today and chatting about …

The Wines of the Pope - Chateauneuf du Pape

Chateauneuf du Pape – “The New Castle of the Pope” is a little town in Southern France in the Provence region. It gets it’s name from the castle built by the Popes when they ruled from Avignon, before they settled at the Vatican. In 1308, Pope Clement V, former Archbishop of Bordeaux, relocated the papacy to the city of Avignon. Clement V and subsequent "Avignon Popes" were said to be great lovers of Burgundy wines and did much to promote it during the seventy-year duration of the Avignon Papacy. At the time, winegrowing around the town of Avignon was anything but illustrious. While the Avignon Papacy did much to advance the notoriety of Burgundy wines, they were also promoting viticulture of the surrounding area, more specifically the area 5-10 km north of Avignon close to the banks of the Rhône River. Prior to the Avignon Papacy, viticulture of the area had been initiated and maintained by the Bishops of Avignon, largely for local consumption.

Clement V was succeeded by John XXII who, as well as Burgundy wine, regularly drank the wines from the vineyards to the north and did much to improve viticultural practices there. Under John XXII, the wines of this area came to be known as "Vin du Pape", this term later to become Châteauneuf-du-Pape. John XXII is also responsible for erecting the famous castle, which stands as a symbol for the appellation. (from Wikipedia).

The White House Serves Sonoma Chardonnay for Pope’s Birthday

Although the Pope didn’t partake in the White House celebration of his birthday, they feted the Pope in his absence anyway. The wine of cholce to toast the Pope? In the tradition of the White House – American wines all the way. Among the wines served was Sebastiani Vineyards, Dutton Ranch Chardonnay. From the nice Italian-American Catholics- the Sebastiani family. Good choice.

At about $22 - grab a bottle tonight, say one Hail Mary and toast the Pope.



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