The main winegrowing areas of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation are the following:
• The Plateau de La Crau, dating back to the Villafranchian (1.9 to 1.8 million years old), is made up of rolled pebbles brought by the Rhone river. At a depth of 7 to 8 metres underneath is to be found a layer of blue clay, which acts as a reserve of water over the summer. This terroir is particularly suitable to winegrowing, and gives great wines featuring depth and complexity.
• The top plateau of the Cabrières district is a mix of pebbles deposited by the Rhone during the Villafranchian, and of calcareous broken stone, which is debris from the Urgonian limestone bar (127 to 125 million years old) just west of this area.
There are other smaller winegrowing areas that are also very interesting for growing wine:
• The medium terrace of La Nerthe, with again rolled pebbles from the Villafranchian, though in lesser amounts.
• The lower terrace south-east of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, dating back to the Wurmian (younger than 75,000 years), featuring a mix of some rolled pebbles, calcareous broken stone, very old deposits, and younger alluvium.
The vineyards grown under the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation are to be found in the following districts: La Crau, la Nerthe, Cabrières, Le Bois de la Ville.
The vine varieties allowed in Châteauneuf-du-Pape are the following:
• Black varieties: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Vaccarese, Muscardin, Counoise, Terret Noir
• White varieties: White Grenache, Picardan, Roussane, Picpoul, White Clairette, Grey Clairette, Bourboulenc.
Those different varieties are grown in the following proportions: 70% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, 5% Counoise, 5% Syrah, 5% Vaccarese.
• Mediterranean Climate
• Sunshine: 200 days per year
• Average temperatures: 22°C in the summer, 7.3°C in winter
• Rainfall: 201 mm in the summer, 503 mm the rest of the year
• The mistral blows an average 158 days per year.