The Elegance of a Great Terroir


The Elegance of a Great Terroir

Château La Nerthe

The Château La Nerthe vineyard is a mosaic of 57 plots in which we find the 4 main soil types of Châteauneuf du Pape and the 13 grape varieties of the appellation. The domain has used organic cultivation methods since 1998 (ECOCERT certification). The vineyards cover 92 hectares of which 60 surround the Château, the other 32 are a few hundred meters further east on the famous plateau of La Crau.

Together, these plots cover the entire diverse range of soils of the appellation making the style of La Nerthe the whole, complete expression of the complexity of Châteauneuf du Pape.

Enjoying an exceptional location, the comprises terraces and hillsides typical of local soils. Around the chateau, we find a majority of sands, marls and worn clay-limestone pebbles with some very high limestone soils more conducive to white wines. The 32 hectares forming the area of La Crau lie on a clay rich soil, covered with worn flat pebbles and some sandstone. The nature of each plot and the age of the vines are taken into account in the cultivation methods.

The Elegance of a Great Terroir

92 hectares, 57 vineyard plots

Just below the chateau we find the historical vineyards of Le Clos de Beauvenir and Les Cadettes.

Roussanne vines compose the major part of the varieties in Clos de Beauvenir - along with Grenache Blanc. Cuvée des Cadettes is a blend, produced from the domain oldest grape vines : Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Grenache is king, however, on the plateau of La Crau; the worn flat pebbles here, along with deep clay soil and exposure to the Mistral confer a unique situation. As for Mourvèdre, it prefers soil that has moisture at depth, but is warm - just like Grenache. This is why we find it planted on the southern part of La Crau and Escondudes. Syrah is more accommodating and adapts well to different soils. The warm, pebble rich soils of Cansaud and the sandy soils of La Nerthe suit it perfectly.


The Elegance of a Great Terroir

Different Styles of Wine

The Grape Varieties

The 13 varieties of the appellation are “raised” to produce very complex and elegant wines with delicate aromas. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault are the major components when blending the red wines. Grenache blanc, Roussanne, Clairette and Bourboulenc give birth to expressive and balanced white wines. The crop is hand-harvested at optimum ripeness to allow each grape variety to fully express its finesse.

The Mourvèdre grapes express this elegance particularly well as they are close to the northern limit of their cultivation in Châteauneuf. Such conditions always favour the fine and delicate expression of these grapes.

Winemaking and Ageing

The delicate expression is “captured” thanks to extraction work resembling the maceration process. Winemaking by individual plot allows us to obtain the unique expression of particular terroirs. The grapes are hand-picked and table-sorted before being destemmed and sent to the fermentation vats. This takes place in stainless steel or wood vats depending on the terroir and the taste quality of the grapes. Vatting begins with pre-fermentation maceration of 12-24 hours. Then the alcoholic fermentation begins; the yeasts used for this are indigenous yeasts specific to our terroir. Fermentation temperature is controlled throughout this crucial phase. Pumping-over and cap-plunging are carried out during fermentation to ensure the best extraction of grape components. Vatting lasts about 3 weeks then the wines are run off into demi-muids (600l. oak barrels), casks, wooden and sometimes stone vats for malolactic fermentation. Once this second fermentation is complete, ageing proceeds for a period of 12 months. It is only after this last step is complete that blending is carried out.

Since the vintage 2001, wines of Château La Nerthe have been bottled using a specially designed bottle in order to denote their individuality.