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Wines in Our Signature Collection

Châteauneuf-du-Pape: Bridging Old and New

What makes Châteauneuf-du-Pape an important wine to try? As LCBO European Wine expert Igor Ryjenkov M.W. explains, it’s a benchmark wine by an iconic producer, emblematic of an iconic region. Find out which Châteauneuf-du-Pape has been selected as a part of our Signature Collection.

Of all the great wine regions of France – Bordeaux, Champagne, Burgundy – perhaps none is more approachable or easy to appreciate than Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Igor Ryjenkov M.W., category manager of the LCBO's European Wine portfolio, describes the wines from this region as bridge wines that cross over from a New World to a European style.

Situated along the Rhone River in southern France where the Rhone valley opens up and the warm influence of the Mediterranean climate starts to be felt, the area is France's first designated appellation. The inherent warmth of the region coupled with a unique landscape – the soil is covered in big rocks, larger than gravel but smaller than boulders, known locally as galet or pudding stones – helps control moisture evaporation from the soil. Additionally, the rocks absorb heat during the day and radiate that stored warmth back to the grapes after the sun sets, further ripening them and instilling them with the soft richness the finished wine is renowned for.

Ryjenkov considers Châteauneuf-du-Pape Chapoutier Les Grands Merisiers a true representation of the region's wines. A traditional blend of Grenache (chocolate and licorice flavours), Syrah (blackberry and black peppercorn) and mourvèdre (sappy and herbaceous), each varietal brings something different to the party, resulting in a wine that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Chapoutier's been making wines in the region for 200 years and knows a thing or two about making them delicious, but the iconic producer is still very much a forward-looking winery, and it's extremely quality driven while highly mindful of things like carbon footprint and environmental impact.

Rich and lush, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Chapoutier Les Grands Merisiers loves to be paired with bold-flavoured dishes. A classic southern French cassoulet, full of beans, different cuts of meat and confit duck, would be an ideal pairing, but because it is a bridge wine, it works just as well with a low and slow style of southern barbecue: Think smoked brisket or pulled pork. Duck, lamb – really anything braised or stewed is going to benefit.

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