The most famous appellation for red wine in France? One of the first things I remember from my WSET training days was that Châteauneuf-du-Pape was the first region granted AOC status in 1936 and now covers some 3,300 hectares.
Other facts include that this region of the southern Rhône makes more wine than the whole of the North combined - that is indeed a LOT of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Planted mainly to Grenache, with some Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan, there are legally 13 grape varieties allowed in the production of red Châteauneuf, 4 of which are white. Approximately 95% of the wine made is red, with just 5% white.
The soil, if it can be called that, is famously made up of large, rounded 'pudding' stones, known as galets, formed from glacial deposits and old river beds, with the benefit to the vines that these large stones retain the suns heat and generate that latent heat back into the vineyards at night, thereby 'turbo-charging' the grapes ripening. climate is warmly Mediterranean, and the rainfall modest. The resultant wines are big, rich and spicy, generous in alcohol at a minimum of 13.5% for both red and white, and they cellar well, ageing for 4-20 years.