Surprisingly, the only reason we came here is for the wine (ok so you're not surprised). And it hasn't disappointed. In the 14th century, when some of the French popes lived in Avignon one of them decided he needed a second castle so had one built nearby. This became the new castle of the pope, also known as chateauneuf-du-pape. This castle also fell into disrepair until WW2 when the Germans destroyed all but one wall.
There are 180 wineries in this region and every nook and cranny in the narrow, sloping town seems to house a 'cave' for tasting and buying. Which we did. Although we only came away with a modest purchase of 2 bottles!
View of the surrounding hills and vineyards from the top:
The wines here depend a lot on the type of soil, from sandy to limestone to rocky. It still looks quite odd to see a vineyard covered in rocks. Each soil type produces different flavours (all good by the way). The portions for tasting were quite generous so our afternoon only consisted of one. Even at that, we got a breathalyzer tester as we left the 'cave'. Apparently breathalyzer testers are required in every vehicle in France but there is no fine enforced if you don't have one.
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