At this point in our stay we had visited and seen so many things in Provence, we seemed to have covered all the basics. However, there was one glaring oversight we had neglected up until now: WINE! It probably does not come as a surprise that we indulged in a day solely dedicated to wine. France and wine are pretty much synonymous. Add to the fact my father is a huge wine enthusiast. Really, you are asking yourselves? A Frenchman who loves wine? Not a stereotype at all. (He loves cheese too, if you are wondering).
Therefore, our group first headed to the winery Chateau La Nerthe near the village Chateau Neuf du Pape (which literally means the Pope’s new castle), which is to my knowledge very famous in the world of viticulture. I don’t know that much about wine so I am going to try to be as accurate as possible!
Chateau La Nerthe’s origins date all the way back to the 12th century when the pontiffs chose Chateau Neuf du Pape as the summer residence of the Pope during the Avignon papacy. To sum it up in one sentence, the popes really liked wines so this spawned the creation of vineyards and wine making. The region gradually became famous for its wine. The region gets about 200 days of sunshine a year therefore the climate is very conducive to the harvesting of grapes.
We got to taste a couple of wines and the owner even showed us the winery’s wine cellar! It was closed to the public that day but maybe the owner liked our group, I like to think we were a friendly bunch. We were the only visitors at the time so it made the behind the scenes sneak peek all that more special. It was such a nice gesture on the part of the owner of Chateau La Nerthe, so we owe you un grand merci! It was really cool to see where the wine is made and where it is stored before being bottled and sold to the public.
I signed the guestbook for everyone in French. It says “Great wine tasting! We really appreciated the wine. Thanks a lot!” As you can see, the visitors who signed before me were also Americans but they were from Texas! (Sorry for the blanks in the picture but I put down all of our last names and the towns we were from).
After the wine tasting and the tour of the wine cellar, we then took in Chateau La Nerthe’s vineyard. There are 13 grape varieties grown at this winery. I didn’t even know grapes had so many varieties which goes to show how much I do not know about wine.
The vineyard was so picturesque and looked like a postcard for Provencal wineries. However, this wasn’t the only postcard worthy place we visited that day. Stay tuned for more pictures of our delightful wine tour!