Luberon wine appellation in Vaucluse, France Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Luberon wine appellation
Wine appellation

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Address: Provence
Country: France

The Luberon wine appellation (previously known as Cotes du Luberon) spreads along the spine of hills that divide the Durance and Coulon rivers from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue through to Apt, sweeping through communes such as Oppède, Menerbes, Lacoste, Bonnieux and the beautiful Lourmarin. It sits beside the Côtes du Rhône appellation and below the Ventoux appellation (roughly separated by the road that runs from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue through to Apt).
It is a relatively recent appellation (1988), however, there is very serious money moving into the area and the wines here are causing some excitement in wine circles.
The style of wine varies depending on whether it is produced on the north facing slopes looking towards Mont Ventoux or the south facing slopes looking towards the Durance River which marks its southern-most extent.
Most of the wines are either red or rosé, however some of the whites are causing serious wine drinkers to sit up and take notice (for example, Château la Canorgue).
The grapes for reds are Cinsaut, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah. Grenache and Syrah must comprise at least 60% of the blend for red wines and the percentage of Syrah must not fall below 10%. Cinsault and Carignan, on the other hand, must not each exceed 20% of the blend.
There is also allowance in this appellation for some secondary varieties that were already planted which can be used provided they do not exceed 10% of the blend. These include Counoise, Picpoul, Gamay and Pinot Noir.
Grapes used for white wine production include Clairette, Ugni Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Rolle (Vermentino), Marsanne, Bourboulenc and Roussanne. The Ugni Blanc grape is limited to a maximum of 50% of the blend and Marsanne and Roussanne together must not exceed 20%. Some Viognier can also be used.
The vineyards must conform to a yield that is less than 50 hectolitres per hectare.
Labels to seek out include Château de l'Isolette, Château des Tourettes, Château la Canorgue, Chateau la Verrerie, Château Val Joannis, Domaine de la Bastide de Rhodares, Domaine de la Citadelle, Domaine de la Royere, Domaine Faverot and Bastide du Claux.
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