Château la Nerthe is one of the oldest producers in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The château itself was built in the 18th century, but winery records stretch back as far as 1560.
The Richard family – which also manages various other estates in Beaujolais, Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Rhône – owns the estate. La Nerthe boasts 90 hectares in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, two-thirds of which surround the château, while the final third is located on the famous plateau of La Crau. All the vineyards are farmed organically.
The soils here are a mixture of sandy clay and marl, as well as the typical galets roulés. The property is fortunate to have a natural spring within its grounds, which is incredibly beneficial to the vines in this often drought-prone region. Although the property has plantings of all 13 of the appellation’s permitted varietals, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah dominate the red blend. The estate has one of the highest proportions of white vines in the region and produces a special white cuvée – Clos de Beauvenir – from the clos directly in front of the château.
Since young and dynamic winemaker Ralph Garcin joined the estate in 2016, small yet significant changes have been made here. Ralph has introduced vinification by plot, investing in smaller fermentation tanks and larger ageing vessels to showcase the quality of the fruit in the cellar. He’s also been making improvements to their viticultural practices, such as introducing organic farming.
'La Nerthe's 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape is a blend of 37% Grenache, 29% Syrah, 25% Mourvèdre, 7% Cinsault and 2% others. Aged in a substantial portion of new oak (20%), it shows hints of toast and vanilla on the nose, then plenty of concentrated cherry fruit on the palate. It's full-bodied and plush in texture, making it approachable now, but there's enough tannic backbone and length on the finish to think it will drink well for more than a decade.' 92pts, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate