Châteauneuf-du-Pape is one of the most famous and historically significant appellations of the southern Rhône.
Traditionally it is a powerful, intense red wine with ripe and spicy red and black fruit flavours, a full body and often high alcohol levels. However, the style is beginning to shift towards a more balanced and nuanced expression. This is becoming an increasingly difficult task amidst a hotter, drier and more unpredictable climate.
There are 22 varieties permitted in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The most widely used varieties in the red wines are Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.
It is Grenache that brings high alcohol levels and sometimes a jammy profile to Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines. The grape is also responsible for the charm and ageworthiness of these great wines.
Retail prices for Châteauneuf-du-Pape can be high. If you are looking for a similar style at a friendlier price point, Decanter’s tasting team have recommended 12 Châteauneuf-du-Pape alternatives worth trying.
An obvious starting point is to look for wines from other appellations within the Rhône valley. Here we can find similar blends of grape varieties, soils and climates, for example Lirac AOC which features in the list below.
The list also includes wines from elsewhere in France, for example the Coume del Mas, Quadratur 2019 from Collioure in the Roussillon. Arguably its flagship grape variety, Grenache is widely planted throughout the Roussillon, with many old vine plantings. This wine offers flavours of ripe blackberries and plums and a savoury, meaty complexity.
There are also some picks from further afield including Spain, USA, South Africa and Australia.
Grenache and Syrah feature heavily in the list, but there are also some more unusual picks that should offer a similar flavour profile, such as the Spanish variety Prieto Precudo.
12 Châteauneuf-du-Pape alternatives:
Wines shown in score order