Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a bold and flavourful red wine that pairs best with barbecued beef ribs, duck, hamburgers, venison stew, mushrooms, oxtail, osso buco, and lamb chops.  Imagine you are a hunter, living in a remote France forest in the 1800s.  Anything you catch running or flying in the wild is fair game with Châteauneuf-du-Pape cooked berry, gamy and rustic flavours.

Aside from fruity flavours of cooked cherry, blackberry and raspberry, you’ll find herbs, meat, black pepper, licorice, tar, smoke and gamey flavours in this complex red wine. While often drank within five years, certain bottles of Châteauneuf-du-Pape may be aged for a decade or two where the complexity becomes almost bottomless, and the gaminess becomes more pronounced.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is high in alcohol, and full-bodied.  So you’ll want to keep Châteauneuf-du-Pape away from spicy dishes with heat, such as hot and spicy curry dishes, Mexican cuisine with hot sauces/salsas, or face melting Pastas dishes loaded with chili flakes.  Instead, stick to warm or boldly spices such as mint, rosemary, or clove, like you’d find in a Braised Lamb Shank dish.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a red wine from the Rhône Valley in France and is primarily Grenache blended with up to twelve other varieties such as Cinsault, Clairette, Syrah and Mourvedre. Each producer will have their signature blend, and every bottle will be embossed with the Papal Coat of Arms, which looks like a pope hat in front of two crossed skeleton keys.

Notable producers of Chateauneuf-du-Pape include Chapoutier, Charvin, Château Rayas, Henri Bonneau and Pierre Usseglio.

Best Wine with Châteauneuf du Pape

Hamburger with Sautéed Mushrooms and Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape isn’t cheap, and can range from $40 to $1,500, but don’t stop that from holding you back from enjoying this red wine paired with hamburgers loaded with sautéed mushrooms.  In fact, this is perhaps my favourite pairing with Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I love how the dark fruit flavours of Châteauneuf-du-Pape intertwine with the grilled beef and the earthy notes mingle with the forest floor flavours of the mushrooms.

Furthermore, the peppery qualities found in Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah grapes are heavenly with both the beef and mushrooms.  While often expensive, French red wine doesn’t need to be pretentious, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape paired up with greasy hamburgers is a prime example of this philosophy.  However, if you do want to class this pairing up a bit, pair Châteauneuf-du-Pape up with a Lamb Burger smothered in mushrooms and melted swiss cheese.

Venison Stew and Châteauneuf-du-Pape Pairing

To me, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a wine built on the essence of the hunter and gatherer lifestyle.  You get the flavours of the berries a gather may have collected, along with earthy notes of mushrooms that grow amongst the trees.  Finally, you’ll find gamey notes, along with smoke and pepper, that will remind you of a freshly caught gamebird being roasted over a spit in your wooden cabin fireplace.

All of these flavours mentioned above are wonderful with Venison Stew. The gamey, peppery and smoky flavours of the wine complement the Venison, while the cooked dark fruit flavours simultaneously mask the gamey bite making it more palatable.  Meanwhile, the earthy flavours complement any root vegetables or mushrooms used as a base for your Venison Stew.

Osso Buco and Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Osso Buco and Châteauneuf-du-Pape have a lot in common as they are both rich in flavour and take the chill out of a cruel winter evening.  Meaty and in a rich sauce, Osso Buco requires a bold red wine such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape to conquer and cut through the rich sauce without crushing the delicious Osso Bucco flavours.

The cooked dark cherry and blackberry flavours of Châteauneuf-du-Pape liven up your Osso Buco, while the peppery notes of the wine swoop in and carry your taste buds off to paradise.  The real charm of Châteauneuf-du-Pape is its complex notes of smoke, spice, herbs and game, which complement and waltz with the hard-earned rich flavours of Osso Buco.

Shepherd’s Pie & Châteauneuf du Pape Pairing

Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb and is a frugal dish meant to stretch out your leftovers when life made it much more difficult to afford food.  With Shepherd’s Pie, you’d take your leftover lamb and mix it up with any gravy, peas, carrots and potatoes you had sitting around and then bake it into a pie.  If beef is used instead, it is called Cottage Pie, but often the two names get mixed up.

With Shepherd’s Pie, all of the flavours intertwine and mingle.  Every bite promises some bready goodness of the gravy-soaked crust, along with the soft tang of a pea or two and some earthy potatoes.  Also, let’s not forget the gamey and meaty flavours of the lamb.  It’s such an elaborate dish with multiple flavours being tossed about, and it requires an equal partner in wine.

With Châteauneuf du Pape, you already have those notes of game, smoke and meat bottled right in, and this complements the lamb perfectly making it an excellent wine pairing with Shepherd’s Pie. On top of that, you’ll find herbs, black pepper, and earth notes of the wine dance it up with the root veggies and gravy in your Shepherd’s Pie. If you’re not a fan of lamb’s gaminess, not to worry, the dark fruit flavours of this wine will seduce you in a heartbeat, masking the gamey flavours and leaving in the the distant, unless you focus your senses and deliberately seek it out.

Roasted Duck & Châteauneuf du Pape Pairing

Duck is a rich and sweeter meat that loves the dark fruit flavours along with the smokiness of Châteauneuf du Pape. The Raspberry, black cherry and plum flavours of Châteauneuf du Pape get along swimmingly with the crispy but fatty duck skin.

While Châteauneuf du Pape red wine is loud in flavour, a fatty and gamey bird, such as Duck, can handle this rich and bold red wine. Most of us who order Duck at a restaurant, or cooking it at home, appreciate the amplified flavours of the Duck meat. When you introduce Châteauneuf du Pape to the mix, it matches the Duck meat’s weight while introducing some of its own earthy and herbal charm.