Wine Talk

Snooth User: solomania9

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Doppelgangers?

Posted by solomania9, Oct 27, 2008.

I really enjoyed the full-bodied flavor of the bottle that the Snooth team cracked open on Friday:

As someone with a so-far limited knowledge of wine, I'm wondering if there's any particular aspect of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines that exist in some of the other, more accessible (and less expensive), wine categories that might be worth exploring. If there are some other regions or varieties of wine that share some of the same characteristics as the Châteauneuf-du-Pape, I'd love to hear about them!


Reply by Philip James, Oct 27, 2008.

What is it you liked about it? The difficulty here lines in the fact that CdP allows up to 15 red grapes into the blend, however Grenache, Mouvedre and Syrah (aka GSM) are often the dominant three.

For big fat spicy Syrah go get something Australian. California has a region south of San Francisco where the growers are nicknamed the Rhone Rangers because they use the three GSM varietals so much.

Finally, the Languedoc region in France makes a little of everything, so if you found a GSM wine from there it'd likely be cheaper.

Hope that helps, let me know if you want any specifics.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 27, 2008.

Hi Mike and thanks for the question.

Chateauneuf is a curious wines in many respects. It's a blend of 13 allowable varieties, perhaps 14 or even 16 if one allows for certain genetic variables in the vineyards! There are red grapes and even white grapes though most Chateauneufs rely on Grenache to make up the vast majority of the blend. there are several inexpensive Chateauneufs on the market worth trying such as:

These all provide a solid C9DP, thats short hand for the new house of the pope, which somehow gets written as the ninth house of the pope!

Other wines worth checking out are the many Grenache based blends from the Languedoc Rousillon of Southern France. Some of my favorites have been.

And then there is the ocean of Cotes du Rhone. That's a real minefield but some that I've enjoyed in the past have been:

And the undeniable mac-daddy of them all -

Well that's just a few ideas to get you started. Plenty of good Rhone blends in the $30 and under range and a ton of them barely break $10! It is a value region with very few challengers, though if you want to start exploring other options Spain offers some compelling Rhone blends at affordable pricing and the Rhone Rangers from California can be brilliant too!

Reply by solomania9, Oct 27, 2008.

I would have liked some more advice but I guess this will have to do. ;-)

Thanks for the help guys! Follow my upcoming reviews to see what my thoughts are on some of these promising wines I've just added to my wishlist.

Reply by solomania9, Oct 28, 2008.

Following up - I tried another Grenache-heavy Rhone and definitely confirmed that it's on track with what I like:

It didn't knock my socks off but I'm looking forward to exploring further variations on this that are a little more daring and bring more to the table. Pun slightly intended.

Reply by IronChevsky, Feb 9, 2009.

Mike, I just came back from touring the South of France in Dec, and blogged about the parts relevant to your question on the Iron Chevsky wine blog here: (about the visit to Domaine du Pegau) and here: (about Languedoc reds).

Generally, I would add to the above thread: if you want something similar to Pegau but much cheaper, go for Lirac (it's a sister appellation costing a 3rd of the price of CdP, with quality as good in my opinion - Domaine Maby makes fantastic Liracs, for instance). Besides focusing on Grenache based wines, think about the body as well, since it's important for matching with food. CdP's and Liracs are quite heavy and thick. If you want something lighter but with similar flavor profile, check out the neighboring appellation of Vacqueras (great values as well).

Gary "Iron" Chevsky (from the Iron Chevsky wine blog at

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Feb 9, 2009.

Good tips.

Thanks Gary and welcome to the board. WE have a 2000 Pegau lined up for what will probably turn out to be Mike's all time favorite GTi, Grenache in the middle of April.

Love the Maby, very good suggestions. Another one to consider, though with a decidedly modern bent would be the Mordoree Reine des Bois. It'll give you a different take and while it can be pricey I've seen it going for 50% of late.

Reply by solomania9, Feb 12, 2009.

Gary, thanks for the great reccos. I just added some Domaine Maby's to my wishlist so I'll be checking those out sooner or later. Really enjoyed your post about Pegau winery tour too - saved me a few thousand in airfare and lodging :-p

Reply by IronChevsky, Feb 12, 2009.

You are welcome. Also check out the less likely candidate from Gamay grape -- quite peppery beaujolais (Cru level) from Moulin-à-Vent appellation in Beaujolais (just above Northern Rhone). It's the most serious appellation in Beaujolais and the wines that come from there are sort of a cross between a red Burgundy (from Pinot Noir grape) and a Northern Rhone (from Syrah grape) -- so naturally they have a black cherry and black pepper combination. Much more serious than your typical Beaujolais Nouveau juice at prices that are still quite affordable. I just had one of those last night with Chinese cuisine, and the spice was undeniable. Went great with both black-peppered and spicy red-peppered dishes. Under $20/bottle. Solid, at the level at Cotes du Rhone, not amazing - but great value.

Gary "Iron" Chevsky (from the Iron Chevsky wine blog at

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