Domaine du Pegau, located in Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the Southern Rhone Valley, is owned by the Feraud family, which has been farming and making wine in the Rhone Valley since the late 17th century. Like many of the best producers in the Rhone Valley, the estate’s history is entwined with the refined tastes of the Papal court in 14th century Avignon, a place where fine Rhone wines were in great demand. The word “pegau” is Provencal dialect for “wine jug,” and clay “pegaus” were used to deliver Rhone wines to the nearby Papal court. The father and daughter team, Paul and Laurence Feraud, who own the estate pride themselves on making traditional Chateauneuf-du-Papes that are considered among the region’s finest. The estate is comprised of 56 acres of vineyards planed to 75% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre. For white wines there are also plantings of Clairette, Bourboulenc and Roussane. About 80,000 bottles total are produced each year.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the appellation, is a large area of nearly 8,000 vineyard acres centered around the picturesque town of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Located in southeastern France just north of the Avignon hills, the name of the appellation means “new castle of the pope” and it is a reference to the 14th century, when the Popes of Avignon built summer homes in the Southern Rhone Valley. Today the appellation is one of the most renowned in France and its terroir is known for layers of small pebbles, called “galets.” The stones in the soil are thought to help store heat and keep the soil warm, which helps ripen the grapes. The stones also help keep the soil from drying out in hot summer months. In 1923 Châteauneuf-du-Pape was a leader in establishing the idea that AOC wines in France should be made only with specified grapes, and the appellation allowed 13 grape varieties to be used. Since then the rules have been slightly modified to include several more allowable grapes. Red and white wines are produced, though in practice about 97% of all Châteauneuf –du-Papes are reds made with a blend of Grenache Noir, Cinsault, Counoise, Mourvedre, Muscardine, Syrah and Vaccarese. The red wines of this appellation are prized for being big, rich, spicy and full-bodied. White wines of the appellation are made with Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Roussanne, Picpoul and Picardin. Whites are floral, fruity and relatively full-bodied.