Our friend Delphine is a great wine maker. And before working in the Languedoc – Rousillon area she used to work at the famous D.O Chateauneuf Du Pape.
Therefore, we have wonderful and delicious memories of that time. Thanks to the great wine we’ve tasted and enjoyed. In those days, I thought that Chateauneuf Du Pape was a Chateaux, that produced this french excellent wine. Eventually, I understood that it was the Appellation D´Origin Controlee, a D.O. with many vineyards sharing the same land, the same terroir.
Due to this terroir, the Red wine variety was always my first choice. It is a wine so delicious and powerful. And very different from the Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon to which I am accustomed. One sip conjures hints of cherries, raspberries and sweet strawberries. Followed by an earthy undertone and smokiness. Ending with a mix of Provencal herbs, pepper and minerals stones in the sun. Lively and intense, long and impressive.
I finally decided to write this article. When at the beginning of the fourth season of “Scandal” the Fox TV prime-time drama series, I get the keywords from Olivia Pope. French wines and Chateneuf Du Pape. Olivia Pope is the lead character portrayed by Kerry Washington. She is a Washington D.C.-based crisis manager, who runs her own firm. Pope & Associates. That specializes in political situations and colaborates with the White House.
The character has become a widely-watched fashion and style trendsetter. In this season she exiled herself in a tropical island with Jake, her friend and lover. The only evidence of the rest of the world is a boat that shows up with groceries and an important delivery. Five bottles of an expected and fictional Red wine called Du Bellay, a Chateauneuf Du Pape 1994. “This will change your life” she exclaims. While the island life didn’t last long. Back in Washington, Olivia started the trend of sipping on a glass of Red wine in the afternoon after work. To take the day off.
The same pattern shows another modern heroine, Alicia Florrick. The high-powered lawyer at the center of “The Good Wife” series. Portrayed by Julianna Margulies. Drinking a good glass of wine when she gets home after a hard day of work is her delight. So, both Olivia and Alicia, steal a moment all to themselves. As a monk take a moment in a conversation with God. The picture is them taking their necessary, needed and restful moment of peace. In the company of a great glass of Red wine. And this looks very good.
It seems Red wine these days is an option for women with character. With lots of character. Once, reserved mostly for men. Movies, magazines and literature alike showed men drinking their bold Red wines. While women opted for a sweet and light glass of white wine. This is no longer the norm, and now men and women enjoy this exquisite indulgence alike. Although we have yet to reach some salaries match.
Chateauneuf du Pape is in the southern Rhone Valley. This is an area near Avignon in Provence, South of France. After Pope John XXII temporarily moved the papacy from Rome to Avignon, he built a castle in this city. It was in the XIV century and propelled grape growing. A wine from his vineyard is still produced there. The “Clos de Papes”, bearing the mention “Terroir Castelpapal”.
Chateauneuf permits only thirteen grape varieties. And the mixture is usually dominated by the Grenache and the Mourvedre. Other red grapes varieties include Cinsault, Counoise, Syrah, Muscardin, Terret Noir and Vaccarèse. White grapes include Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picardin, Roussanne and Picpoul. In recent years the tendency has been to produce mainly the Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah.
Before the famous wine critic Robert M. Parker began promoting them, the wines of Chateauneuf were considered rustic and with a limited appeal in the United States. However, his influence helped to quadruple its price in one decade. In return, the Union of Vintners of Chateauneuf made him an honorary citizen of the town.
Certainly Châteauneuf is legendary. And displays their traditional way of processing, where it interacts with fruit acidity to impose balance. A great wine with natural imperfections, that ultimately make it perfect.