Cotes du Ventoux wine appellation in Vaucluse, France Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Ventoux wine appellation ( Côtes du Ventoux)
Wine appellation

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Address: Provence
Country: France

The Ventoux appellation (previously known as Côtes du Ventoux) lies between the area designated as Luberon in the south and the massive Mont Ventoux to the north. It is a large appellation covering some 50 communes over an area of 5800 hectares and producing over a quarter of a million hectolitres of wine annually.
Whites, reds and rosés are found here of varying quality ranging from some of the most interesting wines in the country to some mediocre ‘cooperative wines'. However there has recently been interest in the area from some of the better wine makers of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Burgundy.
Reds and rosés are primarily made from the following grapes: Grenache, Syrah, Cinsaut, Carignan and Mourvèdre. As with the nearby Luberon appellation it is permitted to use secondary grape varieties such as Picpoul and Cournoise provided they do not exceed 20% of the blend. Carignan must not exceed 30% of the blend. The whites are made from combinations of Bourboulenc, Clairette and Grenache Blanc with Roussanne also being permitted but limited to 30% of the blend.
There are many producers in this beautiful wine region. We are particularly fond of the wines of Chateau Unang which lies in a beautiful location at the mouth of the stunning Nesque Gorge. The wines here are made with precision and care. The Chateau Unang La Source (a red blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan) and the Cuvee Adeleine (a rich white wine made from Clairette and Roussanne) arevery nice wines.
On the other side of the appellation, in sight of the lacy Dentelles de Montmirail, the mountains that run down the eastern side of the plain where the great Rhone appellations of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Beaumes-de-Venise, Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Cotes du Rhone Villages Cairanne lie, is one of the best organic vineyards we have ever found.
It is near the perched village of Le Barroux where Philippe Gimel at Domaine Saint Jean du Barroux is doing amazing things bringing a dormant vineyard back to life. His wines are a reflection of his passion for the environment whether it be the quality of the soil, the health of the thousands of trees that proliferate throughout his plot or for general biodiversity with his encouragement of worms, ladybirds, native orchids, birds and even wild boar that roam his domain at night digging up the soil and fertilising it as they go about their nocturnal activities.
Here he makes a single red and a single white, both of enormous power and elegance from extremely low-yielding vines (20hl/ha). Only natural yeasts are used to ferment the wine and wood is used judiciously. The white wine is a blend but our favourite white grape from this region, Clairette is always dominant.
Some good wines are also made at La Vieille Ferme, made by Jean-Pierre Perrin, proprietor of the famous Chateauneuf-du-Pape winery, Château de Beaucastel. The rosé he makes is also quite smart.
Domaine Santa Duc, the producers of fine Gigondas wines are now producing wines in this area. Their white Côtes du Ventoux Santa Duc les Rossignols made from 35% Roussanne, 24% Grenache Blanc and 41% Clairette is well worth a try.
Other labels to seek out are Domaine Chaumard, Domaine de Cressenton, Domaine de Font Alba, Domaine des Anges, Domaine Chene Bleu and Domaine de Fondreche.
You can also pick up bargains at the local co-ops, for example the Chais du Grillon from the nearby Les Vignerons du Bédoin.
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