Beaumes-de-Venise vine area is located on the southern and eastern part of the Dentelles de Montmirail massif. AOC ‘s surface is 600 hectares (1500 acres) on the communes of Beaumes-de-Venise, Lafare, La Roque, Alric and Suzette. Altitudes are spreading from 100 m to 500 m.
The groung is made of 3 kinds of soils : marl, sand and limestone.
Unic in the Rhône Valley, sandy sediments from the Massif Central settled first, then limestone and marl in a tropical sea, and finally under the influence of the scorching climate, salt, gypsum and rusty red clays mixed together. That triad, named locally « trias », was covered with other thousand meters of sediment through the age.
Variations of geological conditions generate numerous micro-climatic opportunities which enable the realisation of various type of wine and set perfectly for great range of grape varieties.
Winegrowers carried terrasses (named « restanques » or « faysses ») propped by low dry stones walls in order to ease them job and to improve vines exposure.
Appellation created in 1956 as Côte du Rhône (Rhône Valley wine)
In 1978, became Côte du Rhône Villages for reds and whites : smaller yielding, limited area, higher standart of quality required.
In 2005, reds from Beaumes-de-Venise become a « cru », top level in Rhodanian hierarchy
(the same as Gidondas, Tavel or Châteauneuf du Pape).
CRU Beaumes de Venise red
To be granted Beaumes de Venise AOC (550 ha or 1375 acres), grapes must come from the best vineyards from slopes and terrasses, they may be situated in different kind of grounds or terroirs. The crop must be harvested by hand only. Chemical weedkillers, fertilizers and anti-fungus are forbidden.
Small and controlled yield at 38 hl/Ha.
Only traditional vinifications are authorized.
Production per year : 20 000 Hl or 2.600.000 bottles.
Grape varieties : 50% Grenache noir at least, 25% minimum of Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and secondary grapes as Carignan, Cinsault, Counoise. Possibility to blend 10 % of white grapes blanc.
Terroir of CRU Beaumes de Venise red : Wines must be issued from 3 major types of grounds :
Trias terroir : name given to the oldest period of the secondary era (200 to 230 million years bc). Normally, Trias level must be 1500 m underground. With the rise of the Dentelles de Montmirail (local mountain range) that specific reverse layer (exceptional geologic condition) appeared around Suzette, resulting in a blending of all kind of rocks (marl, clay, hard limestone, gypsum, gravels…) : that shallow red grounds with a low fertility resists to hydric stress in summer and has a perfect draining ability in case of heavy rainfall.
- White creatceous ground : deposits from the sea, between 100 and 140 million years bc on la Roque Alric village. Clayous and marl-limestone : a mixture of marl and hard limestone gravels, on shallow grounds, that terroir gives a good ability to the roots to bore the ground in order to find humidity and mineral nutrients. Mainly cultivated on terrasses, vines are well-exposed that magnificently fit to Grenache (80% of the grapes) and Syrah (20%)
- Grey Jurrassic ground : north to Lafare, the terroir is essentially made of black marl from the Jurassic dating back 140 à 150 million years bc. That sandy and clayous soil enables the root to go deep underground. East and south-east orientated, the exposure garanty an optimum maturation of the grapes, protected from the wind intakes from the Mistral.