Château La Nerthe, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Château La Nerthe is located in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a famous appellation in the southern Rhône valley, which covers 3 200 hectares of land over 5 different villages. It is the most acclaimed appellation in the southern Rhône and it’s named after the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

I really had a good time visiting this 900 year-old estate, full of history.

With a Mediterranean climate, the vines spend more than 200 days under the sun during the year. 13 different grape varieties are cultivated at that château : Grenache Noir, Clairette, Syrah, Bourboulenc, Mourvèdre, Grenache Blanc, Cinsault, Roussane, Picpoul, Picardan, Terret, Vaccarèse, Counoise and Muscardin.

You can notice on the following pictures the distinctive characteristic of Châteauneuf-du-Pape: “les galets roulés”. Galets are small drift boulders, rounder rocks from the ancient river bed. These are a key aspect of what makes Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines so distinctive with the rocks reflecting heat back into the vines at night, thus increasing ripeness. These rocks are really unique and make up for a spectacular scenery.

Tasting review :

The wines of La Nerthe are for the most part really pleasant and well made. Each year, the blend consists approximately of : 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre and around 10% of other varieties. The estate also produces a FANTASTIC wine called “la cuvée des cadettes”. Made from (very) old vines of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah, this wine is only produced on great vintages. In other words, during complicated years, these higher quality grapes are used to improve the regular label. Definitely a wine to leave a few years in a corner of your cellar.

Some samples that I tried:

– Château La Nerthe 2011 : Warm and fruity nose. Dominant notes of blackcurrant and cherry. In the mouth, it’s explosive, delicious, fruity and well balanced. Fine and elegant tannins. Finish of medium length. Good wine.

– Château La Nerthe 2010 : The nose is more complex than 2011. Very enjoyable for a few seconds, this bottle fails to deliver in the 2nd part of the tasting with a dry finish and angular tannins. Overall, this wine lacks freshness and balance in its construction.

– Château La Nerthe 2009 : By far the best La Nerthe that I tried. Full-bodied wine with a solid frame, a lot of taste, and balance. Ends on a long and delicious finish. A fantastic bottle, give it 3 more years before opening it.

– Château La Nerthe 2004 : A surprising and very aromatic nose. Notes of jam, ripe prunes and dried fruits, it’s very expressive. On the palate, it’s subtle, and melts in the mouth. Fine and mellow tanins. Medium length. Another nice bottle.