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The History and Significance of Château La Nerthe

For five centuries, the history of Château La Nerthe and Châteauneuf-du-Pape have intertwined, creating a legacy of exceptional wines. Nestled amidst natural springs and diverse soils, this estate has embraced freshness and elegance throughout its rich history. Generation after generation, passionate individuals have dedicated themselves to serving this unique terroir.

A Storied Location

Located just 2 km south of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a picturesque alley leads visitors through vineyards, evergreen oaks, cypresses, and olive trees to Château La Nerthe. Majestic plane trees and century-old pines surround the estate, providing a tranquil setting. To the west, the Rhône River continues its journey towards the Mediterranean, less than 100 km to the south. To the east stands Mont Ventoux, the imposing giant of Provence, rising to an impressive 1912 meters. Avignon, the city of the Popes, lies to the south, while to the north lies Orange, a Roman town known for its ancient theatre and Roman triumphal arch.

A Historic Legacy

The first official record of Château La Nerthe dates back to November 25, 1590, when it was acquired by the Tulle de Villefranche family. Originally known as the Grange de Beauvenir, this country house began its transformation under the care of the Tulle de Villefranche over the next three centuries. Marquis Jean-Dominique Tulle de Villefranche (1711-1760) played a significant role in establishing the estate as one of the flagship properties in the Rhône Valley. He constructed the castle on the foundations of the medieval cellar, embracing innovation in both the vineyard and the wine cellar. Notably, in 1776, the estate started shipping bottled wines—a pioneering practice for the region.

The Tulle de Villefranche family also acted as tireless travellers and ambassadors for their wines, ensuring that they graced the finest tables in France, Europe, and even North America, starting from 1786. This tradition continues proudly to this day, three centuries later.

Revival and Renovation

In May 1877, the Tulle de Villefranche family sold the estate, which had been ravaged by phylloxera, to Commander Joseph Ducos. A Polytechnician like his father, Ducos became the first to recognize the benefits of grafting vines on rootstock resistant to the devastating insect. He spearheaded the revival of Clos de La Nerthe with relentless dedication. His success inspired the initially skeptical winegrowers of Châteauneuf to follow his lead and adopt his methods. It is no exaggeration to say that Châteauneuf owes its wine restoration to the visionary efforts of Ducos, who truly became the soul and the craftsman behind the transformation.

Ducos' primary focus was preserving the ancient qualities of La Nerthe wines—their body and bouquet. To achieve this, he selectively grafted the territory's old vines, including Mourvèdre, Grenache, Terret, Syrah, Counoise, and other red grape varieties that imparted warmth, richness, mellowness, and solidity. He also introduced white grape varieties like Clairette and Picpoul to enhance finesse, freshness, and distinctive aromas. These pioneering efforts laid the foundation for the first Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée in France, established in 1936.

Furthermore, as deputy mayor of the village, Joseph Ducos proposed replacing the appellation Châteauneuf-Calcernier with Châteauneuf-du-Pape—a brilliant idea that still stands today.

A Modern Era

Today, the Richard Family carries forward the vision for Château La Nerthe, continuing to write its story while preserving and revealing its unique architectural and winemaking heritage. In April 1985, the Richard Family acquired the estate, which had faced troubled times, including the requisition of the castle by the German occupation army in 1943. Determined to restore the estate to its former glory, they embarked on meticulous castle restoration and the construction of a modern wine cellar.

The Richard Family's efforts were primarily directed towards the vineyard. In 1991, they extended the estate from 60 to 92 hectares by acquiring magnificent plots in neighbouring La Crau. These additional parcels brought with them an extraordinary heritage of old vines, some dating back to the late 19th century. In tandem, the entire estate transitioned to organic farming, receiving Ecocert certification in 1998, making Château La Nerthe a pioneer once again.

Preserving Tradition, Embracing Innovation

Château La Nerthe, with its rich history and dedication to excellence, continues to inspire the world of wine. As the Richard Family envisions the wines of tomorrow, they remain committed to upholding the original values of the estate while embracing innovation. This remarkable estate stands as a testament to the enduring passion and artistry of those who have shaped its legacy throughout the centuries.

Experience Château La Nerthe Today

Discover the exceptional wines of Château La Nerthe and indulge in centuries of winemaking tradition. Visit The Reserve Cellar, your destination for the finest Australian and international wines, and explore the diverse selection of Château La Nerthe wines. Uncover the elegance, complexity, and history that make these wines truly extraordinary.

Place your order now and experience the magic of Château La Nerthe.

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