How would you like to taste some of the world’s most prestigious wines for only 10 euro? Then come to the Salon des Vins in Châteauneuf-du-Pape in early spring!
Châteauneuf-du-Pape in Vaucluse, is one of the top wine regions in France, a favorite of connoisseurs worldwide. Its history goes back to the 14th century, when the Pope built his summer palace there. Popes need good wine to drink, so vines were planted and the rest is history.
For being such a wine mecca, the Salon des Vins is remarkably casual. It is held in the town’s community center, a big, plain room that you could imagine being used for Bingo games on a Tuesday night.
For the Salon, the room is filled with row after row of foldup tables, each with a winemaker standing behind it. You just walk up to a table and stick out your glass for a pour, and a friendly chat if you’d like. There is no place for wine snobbery in this relaxed, casual atmosphere.
Quite possibly the world’s greatest wine tasting event
There will be over 100 winemakers at the Salon, plus Master Classes on subjects like how to match wine and food. And if you need a break from the fabulous wines, there will be a food court with specialties from all over France.
After your tasting, consider a stroll through the historic town. At its top are the remains of the Pope’s summer palace, with spectacular views over the countryside. And be sure to ask a local about the town’s law banning UFOs, put in place years ago and still on the books.
Whether you like wine, food, history, landscapes, or all of the above, Châteauneuf-du-Pape at the end of March is the place to be. Details: lesprintempsduchateauneufdupape.fr
Keith and Val Van Sickle live part of the year in St-Rémy-de-Provence and have traveled widely throughout the region. Keith is the author of An Insider’s Guide to Provence (read our review).