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La Counoise

Finesse and Complexity in the Red Wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape

A lesser-known grape variety of the southern Rhône Valley, Counoise brings finesse, aromatic complexity, and a hint of acidity to the red wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. At Berthet-Rayne, this rare variety is used sparingly to refine the blend of our Oak-Aged Cuvée.


The Iberian Grape Adapted to the Hillsides

Counoise is believed to have arrived from Spain in the 14th century, gifted by a papal legate to Pope Urban V in Avignon. It has found in the stony and sun-drenched terroirs of Châteauneuf-du-Pape the ideal conditions to express its uniqueness.

At Domaine Berthet-Rayne, our Counoise plots are planted on the hillsides, where they can mature slowly and steadily. A short pruning is practiced to control yields and enhance the concentration of aromas. Thanks to the Mistral wind, which sanitizes the clusters, Counoise is well resistant to fungal diseases.


An Aromatic Blending Grape


In the red wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Counoise is never vinified alone but always blended with other varieties such as Grenache, Syrah, or Mourvèdre. Although lightly colored, it is aromatic and contributes finesse, complexity, and a touch of acidity that aids in achieving balance. Its aromas evoke red fruits, flowers, and spices.

Counoise comprises 5% of our Oak-Aged Cuvée, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre.

Harvested at optimal maturity, it is vinified gently to preserve its delicate fruitiness. An 18-month aging in oak barrels helps to refine the blend and soften its silky tannins.


In this powerful and complex cuvée, Counoise adds a touch of finesse and elegance. The wine stands out with its intense bouquet of ripe fruits, spices, tobacco, and animal notes, its dense and velvety structure, and a long, harmonious finish where the woody and fruity flavors are perfectly balanced.

Counoise is a delicate grape that requires attention but brings a real aromatic added value to our blends. Its finesse and complexity are assets in crafting elegant and digestible red wines.
Martial Capeau, winemaker of Domaine Berthet-Rayne

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