Chemins Vignerons

When an incoming tourist agency meet a wine expert

chemins-vignerons springtime in Languedoc Châteauneuf du Pape in winter At the winery Gigondas : terroir of Romane Machotte Wine tour with a group at Saint Christol terroir Tavel in october Wine tasting Enjoying life in Aix en Provence Sablet a nice village in the Rhône valley Magical underground cellar Roof at Mèze (Languedoc) Pebbles at Châteauneuf du Pape

11 mars 2010
par Marc Jonas
Commentaires fermés sur Coteaux d’Aix and Palette

Coteaux d’Aix and Palette




AOC since 1985 : 49 communes on 34 537 ha on land (86342 acres), 10 % only are planted amounting 4268 ha (10 670 acres) at Aix en Provence, Aurons, La Barben, Berre l’Etang, Coudoux,  Eguilles, La Fare les Oliviers, Jouques, Lambesc, Lançon de Provence, Mallemort, Charleval, Martigues, Meyrargues, Mouriès, Pellissane, Port de Bouc, Puyricard, le Puy Ste Réparade, Rognes, Roquefort la Bedoule, Salon, St Cannat, St Chamas, Senas, Rians, Velaux, Venelles.

This vast area stretches from the Sainte Victoire Mountain (east) to the small Alpilles range (west), and encompasses the territory going from the bank of the Durance river (north), to Berre pond (south). The scenery concist in an alternation of parallel limestone height to the shore.

Maximum authorised yelding : 60 hl/ha.

Wines are essentially rosé (80%) reds (15 %) and whites (5%) is a small production.




Grounds

Most of grounds are chalky-clayous with sometimes important variations

  • chalky-clayous very stony.
  • Clay mixed with marl and sandstone.
  • Stones and gravels on clay.
  • Clayous-sandy close to rivers Arc and Durance. 

Deep grounds favour resistence to heat wave and climatic excess in summer. The great variety of terroir (combination ground/relief/climate) enables numerous growing strategy for winegrowers. Generally clear soils as limestone, gravelled and deep provide minerality (perfect for rosés and whites) ; gravel on clay are producing more powerful wines (tannins and alcohol) better for reds

Climates

Medtierranean marked by the dominant Mistral, coming from north, dry and cold. There’s more or less 2900 hours of sun during the vegetation period. Low rainfall : from 550 to 680 mm per year, raining essentially in spring and autumn. Violent in summer and autumn rainstorms may bring about devastation and erosion.

The littoral area takes advantage of the more humid influence coming from the sea. The western part undergo the Mistral characteristic condition, colder temperature from the Aples are to be seen on the north-eastern region, giving a sought after « fresness » for whites.

Grape varieties

For whites : Grenache blanc, Bourboulenc, Rolles (Vermentino), Clairette blanche, Ugni blanc, Sauvignon.

For red and rosés : Syrah, Grenache noir, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Counoise and Cabernet-Sauvignon





Palette appellation.

A very small appellation : 42 ha (105 acres). This tiny AOC take place between two villages : Tholonet and Meyreuil, by Aix en Provence. Only 2 wineries are producing the excellent AOC Palette white : Château Simone at Meyreuil and Château Crémade at Tholonet

Grounds : its a small valley, north orientated, protected from winds by the Sainte Victoire mountain, with limestone and deep soils, giving finess to the wines.

Reds are powerful, tannic made to keep, rosé are fresh and aromatic, whites has got plenty of minerality and finess, structure and flavours (almond and limetree blossom).

Grape varieties :

For red and rosés : le Mourvèdre, Grenache noir and Cinsault must enter in the blending to at least 50%, 10 other varieties are authorized in which Tibouren

For whites : 80% (at least) of Clairette blanche with 10 other varieties.

11 mars 2010
par Marc Jonas
Commentaires fermés sur Beaumes de Venise

Beaumes de Venise


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.

History

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.


12 février 2010
par Marc Jonas
Commentaires fermés sur Collioure and Banyuls

Collioure and Banyuls

Banyuls terroir’s area is the same as Collioure’s. Territory encompasses 4 villages : Collioure, Port-Vendres, Banyuls et Cerbère.

Grounds :

The Pyrrénées fall straight down the Mediterranean in a particular rugged mountain site : vineyards are taking place in these sheer schist slopes. Arid and poor, slopes are so vertiginous that we sometimes need a mule or cableway to bring back the crop.

Vines are planted on eroded schist slopes, the ground is just 20 to 50 cm thick (degraded clayous sands) right on the mother plate.

To survive, roots has to dive as deeply as possible to resist to the drought. Erosion is permanent worry : generation of winemakers created “peu de gal” from Catalan language : rooster‘s foot (ditches to canalize water) and « agulles » channel to collect water during the heavy autumn showers, terrasses or low walls to preserve from erosion.

Fighting against erosion is an every day life : drought and torrential rainfall amplify the slope effect. It’s not exceptionnal to observe winemaker hauling back hearth to the top of terrasses.

Climate :

Very dry summers are succeeded by violent rainstorms in autumn. Winters are dry, springs are more humide : 600 mm of rain from march to septembre (with sometimes 200 to 400 mm in 1 or 2 days in septembre).

One of the warmest and most sunny growing condition in France with more than 2800 h of sun during the life cycle. The average temperature in the year is 16 °C (60,8 °F). Winters are very nice and mild, frost exceptional.

Winds are always blowing : Tramonte amplify the evaporation, cryptogamic disease risks are reduced dramatically. Marin (from the sea), brings humid spray from the sea, enabling vines to resist drought.

AOC Collioure

AOC since 1971 for reds – AOC since 1991 for rosés – AOC since 2003 for whites.

Only 597 ha (1492 acres) are devoted to dry wines. Maximum yielding : 40 hl/ha.

  • White Collioure are based on Grenache white and grey that represente 70% of the blending. 5 other grapes varieties are authorised : Tourbat (Malvoisie from Roussillon), Macabeu, Marsanne, Roussanne and Vermentino (Rolle).
  • Collioure reds and rosés are based on Grenache noir. Syrah and Mourvèdre, recently cultivated, may enter up to 60 % of the blending. Other grapes varieties: le Carignan noir and Cinsault for reds. For rosés : Grenache gris (grey) 30 % maximum in addition to the Grenache noir. Rosés are fermented at low temperature, vinified by bleeding vats or pressing out immediately. Reds are often matured in « foudres » (huge oak barrel) or oak barrel, they can’t be released on the market before July 1st of the next year.

Collioure are powerful and mineral, with a strong fruity character, a rich structure, fatty with silky tannins.

BANYULS

AOC Banyuls since 1936. – AOC Banyuls Grand Cru since 1962.

Appellation surface : 1 173 ha (2932 acres) in terrasses. Yielding : 30 hl/ha maximum.

Wines are vinified after direct press or maceration, and then matured in big glass bottles, in foudre, oak barrels and bottles. These wines are going to age slowly to develop gorgeous colours and complex aromas. Banyuls may be dry, medium-dry, medium-sweet or sweet. There are famous for the « rancio » flavour (from rancid or oxidated) developped after a long maturation in oxidative condtions (many years).

  • Banyuls Blanc : yellow straw colour, brilliant, floral notes, citrus fruits and white fruits.
  • Banyuls : traditional production, we call those wines « tuilés » or tawny, matured in oxidative conditions. Grape varieties : Grenache noir (50% minimum), Grenache grey and white, Macabeu , Malvoisie, other grapes : Carignan, Cinsault, Syrah. Mutage or addition of alcohol (fortified) : neutral alcohol (10 % by volume max) is added to the must. Maturation : Minimum 10 months.
  • Banyuls «Rimage» : after a long maceration, juice is fortified in the vat before pressing (mutage sur grain), then bottled quickly in the coming 6 -12 months to preserve the intense fruity flavours, power and freshness.
  • Banyuls «Rimage» Mise Tardive (late bottling) : the same process plus a maturation lasting 1 to 3 years in « foudre » or oak barrel in order to make tannins more supple and obtain more complex aromas.

  • Banyuls Grand Cru : Wines must be issued from 75 % of Grenache noir at least plus Grenache grey and white, Macabeu, Malvoisie, secondary grapes : Carignan, Cinsault, Syrah. Maximum yielding : 30 hl/ha. Fortified with neutral alcohol. Maturation : 30 months minimum. The name Grand Cru is given only to the wine coming from the best vintages, with long maceration and « mutage sur grain » only. Wines are much more concentrated, release cooked fruits aromas, torrefaction, spices, tobacco and moka. Very long ageing potential.

12 février 2010
par Marc Jonas
Commentaires fermés sur Bandol

Bandol

Bandol vineyard is situated between the small town La Ciotat and Toulon. Vines spread on rounding hills and alternate in small plain with sheer slopes covered with terrasses named there « restanques ». There’s a quite perfect unity in the type of ground, no altitude effects.

There’s is 700 ha planted in vines. That AOC is producing the 3 colours : red, rosé and white on 7 villages : le Beausset, la Cadière d’Azur, le Castellet, Evenos, Ollioule, Saint Cyr sur Mer, Sanary.

There’s no winery in the small town of Bandol that gave its name to the appellation. This harbour was the location where shipments took place to go oversea, hence wine from Bandol !

Production : 55 % as rosé, 40 % as red and 5 % as white, with more or less 50 wineries

Red must mature for 18 month at least before being released.

Ground :

3 kinds of grounds, sandy-limestone, clayous-limestone or marl. Northern exposures are a good options to resist to the lack of water. Freshness is trump card to get more balanced wines, « lighter » in style.

Climate :

One of the warmest part of France, with an exceptionnal amount of hours of sunshine. The average temperature are breacking record, that’s why Mouvèdre is thriving at Bandol (that’s a very difficult grape to ripe !). The proximity of the sea here is playing an incontestable role, the breeze is necessary to enable vines to resist drought to grow.

Grape varieties :

For whites : Clairette white and pink, Ugni white, Grenache white and Bourboulenc, that must amount to 60% at least of the blending. Secondary grape : Sauvignon.

For rosés and reds : Mourvèdre (at 50% of the blending), Cinsaut and Grenache noir. Secondary grape : Carignan and Syrah, Tibouren and Calitor (traditional local grapes that tend to be abandoned), they may represent 20% of the blending.

Wine styles :

Red has got a deep colour, to keep for a long time (up to 20 years for good vintages). Aromas recall pepper, cinnamon, black cherry, coffee dregs, leather. That very tanninc wines, powerful and heady, made for strong dishes based on red meat or stew, games, mushroom. It necessary to leave young wines in a decanter for two hours.

Rosés are fresh and fulbodied, pale colour almost orange like, fruity, supple, with sipcy and mineral flavours : it’s a rosé for gastronomy.

Whites are nervous and fresh exuding white flowers and white fruits fragrances, there are quite structured (alcohol and minerality) and has got a great deal of finesse.

11 février 2010
par Marc Jonas
Commentaires fermés sur Baux

Baux

Les Baux is a very small appellation covering only 325 ha (812 acres), the western appellation in Provence and closest to the Rhône river.

That AOC spreads on 8 villages les Baux-de-Provence, Eygalières, Fontvieille, Le Paradou, Maussane-les- Alpilles, Mouriès, Saint-Étienne-du-Grès and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.

AOC since 1995 for reds (67 % of the total production) and rosés (30% of the total production), white still bears the mention of Coteaux d’AIx.

80% of the growers in the appellation are organic or biodynamic.

Reds must be matured one year before marketing.

Maximum yielding : 50 hl/ha.

Planting density : 4 000 stump per ha.

Cordon pruning or « gobelet », bearing maximum 12 spurs per stump.

Grape varieties :

For reds : traditionnal mediterranean grapes based on Grenache noir, Syrah and Mourvèdre that must amount to 60 % of the blending. Cinsault, Counoise and Carignan, limited at 30 % maximum of the blending and Cabernet-Sauvignon with 20 %maximum.

For rosés : the same rules, maximum 10% of Cabs in the blending. They must result from the bleeding method of a vat.

For whites : Marsanne, Rolle (Vermentino), Clairette, Grenache blanc, Sémillon,

Minimum alcoholic content : 11,5%.

Grounds :

Les Baux AOC are spreading on both sides (north and south) of the small Alpilles range. Most of the wineries settled on the northern orientation.

Vine are planted on slopes and terrasses. Grounds are deep and stony, made of mixture of clay and limestone (argilo-calcaires), limestone and marl or sediments of sand and gravels. Quality of clay in the Alpilles garanty a perfect nutrition process, a fine roots development and resistance to drought.

They provide a good draining ability, very important in a country undergoing devastating heavy rainfall in autumn.

Climate :

Typically mediterranean with long and dry period of drought, lot of sun during the life cycle, mild witers. Big rain amount unfavorably spread during the seasons. Early growing conditions and exceptional frosts characterize that part of Provence.

The mountain is playing an important role in the micro-climate. The northern side is cooler and more humid, wine are fresher ripening later, on the souhern part, wines are more heady and fulbodied.

Vines a scattered within forest and garrigue : the vegetaion and scenery are protecting vines from chemical agressions and keep are relative freshness in summertime.

Under the Mistral influnce from the Rhône Valley, that wind prevent vines from cryptogamic diseases as drying the leaves preventing rot. That one of the main characteristic of the Baux AOC.

11 février 2010
par Marc Jonas
Commentaires fermés sur Costières de Nîmes

Costières de Nîmes

The Costières de Nîmes vineyard (the largest gravel or « villafranchien » terrasse in Europe : 24 km long x 12 km large (14,4 x 7,2 miles) spreads on the Rhône right bank. The landscape is an alternation of small hills and plateau at an altitude ranging from 20 to 147 m.

That area is bordered in the north by the plain of Nîmes and in south by the ponds of Camargue.

That territory links Provence to Languedoc as an hyphen. The eastern part of the Costières is lined by the Rhône river, the Mistral there is playing a very important role.

Climate

Costières is subjects to the mediterranean climate with long hot and dry periods from june to mid-septembre. Mild and dry winters Irregular rainfall with an average of about 730 mm (sligthly less than the French average) per year. In autumn violent rainstorms provokes flasfloods with a rain amount going from 200 mm to 550 mm in 2 to 10 days !

Average temperature in the year is 14,5°C (58,1° F) with 2700 sunny hours. 6,5° C (43,7° F) in winter and 23,5° C (74,3° F) one of the warmest in France, heat picks reaching 38° C (100,4° F).

Mistral is playing a very important role, particularly in the eastern part : purifies, ventilate, brings sun, improves berry maturation.

Grounds

A real territorial geological unity, with variations scattered locally. Grounds are made of quaternary deposit scientifically called villafranchien. During the deglaciation process, Durance river in the northern part of the massif, and Rhône river in the southern part brougth deposit in layers going from 5 to 25 m deep.

Boulders, called « gress » are blended with red and yellow sands. Deeper layers of red clay, named « gapans » keep humidity in summer and preserve vine from hydric stress. Stones and sands enable to drain water, these ground help vine to bore the ground, finding moisture and nutrients. As at Châteauneuf du Pape, stones accumulate the heat from the sun and release it during the night.

These stones are seen as precious growing conditions under the heat periods in summer : stones favours a better roots system and early life cycle, drains water (crucial during the heavy rainfall) that prevent rot during the harvest period.

Proximity of sea and ponds (Camargue) affects the climate, particularly in the southwestern part of the Costières. In summer a sea breeze (called there Garbin) covers the vine at the end of the day : that Garbin brings humidity and cools the temperature. Difference of T° between night and day favours maturity of phenols hence increases flavour potential and improves the ripeness of tannins.

Grape varieties :

For reds : Traditional mediterranean grapes wines are based on Syrah. Other very important Grenache noir, Mourvèdre. Secondary grapes : Carignan and Cinsault.

For whites : Grenache white, Roussanne, Marsanne, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Viognier, Macabeu and Vermentino.

For Costières wines, red, rosés and white : the blending of at least 2 varieties is compulsory.

10 février 2010
par Marc Jonas
Commentaires fermés sur Languedoc

Languedoc

This is a complex region for its dimension 150 km long x 50 km large (90x30 miles). A multitude of growing conditions can be observed due to the altitude, the proximity of the sea or of the mountains, the nature of groung and wind influences.

AOC Languedoc since May 2007 (since 1982, the AOC was named Coteaux du Languedoc) is spreading on 168 communes. By law, the yelding can’t exceed : 47 hl/ha. 78% of wines are produced as red, 12% as whites and 10% as rosés.

Type of grounds :

A great deal of variation can be seen : hard limestone slabs in the « Garrigues », schist by the mountain, gravels named locally « villafranchien » and sandstone. They are classified as :

  • gravel terrasses

 

  • sand mixed with marl

 

  • limestone

 

  • clayous ground

 

  • sandy ground

Climate

Hot and long summer, soft automn and spring. Frost is exceptional in winter (altitude variations) generaly dry and luminous.

One of the dryest region in France, the humid period are essentially divided in spring (for two months : 1/3 of the rain amount) and automn (two to three weeks : ½ of the rain amount). Violent rain storms happens in summer time (one to six hours), in automn (one to two weeks), rarely in spring.

Wind is playing, in Languedoc, a very important role. Tramontane in the western part, blowing two days out of three, drying vines, participates to fight against vine diseases. In the northern-western part by Carcassonne, ocean humid influence reduces the tough, dry and hot excess of the mediterranean climate.

By the Rhône Valley, on the estern part of Languedoc, the strong Mistral is blowing all year long, particularly close to Nîmes.

The best Languedoc wines are coming from Coteaux (slopes) vineyard. There, no frost, no mist and more sun. Ground tend to be best drained, producing generally poor, giving a more concentrated and smaller crop.

North orientation is not always the worst exposure.

Forests tend to balance vines from scorching conditions and protect them against wind intake.

Sea promimity attenuate heat excess in summer, warm them up in winter, leading to an favourable precocity in spring.

Grape varieties :

For reds and rosés : Grenache noir, Syrah and Mourvèdre must produce at least 50% of the the blending, with a minimum of 20% Syrah and Mourvèdre each. Cinsault and Carignan are play an important role too.

For whites : Grenache white, Clairette white and pink, Bourboulenc, Piquepoul white, Roussanne, Marsanne and Rolle (or Vermentino) must represent 70% the blending at leat. Viognier can be added : 10% max.

There’s an exception for the appellation Picpoul de Pinet AOC, winemakers must use 100 % of Piquepoul white.

Terroirs :

Progressively, the wine administration is laying out a new organisation, in the principle of the Burgundian’s.

Languedoc – Grès de Montpellier

AOC Languedoc-Grés de Montpellier since 11th march 2003 on 46 villages around Montpellier in the Garrigue area.

Red wine production only, vine must be 9 years old for Carignan, 6 years for the other.

Trading the new wine is forbidden before the first year after the crop.

Grape must be harvested at 12% alchol potentatial.

Planting density : 4400 vines per ha minimum.

Short pruning at two spurs for each branch or in cordon pruning.

Yield must be 45 hl/ha maximum.

Mountains protect from the northern cold influences. Dry and hot in summer, with humid inflence from the sea, that favour precocity and maturity.

Grape varieties : the most important are Grenache noir at 20% least, Mourvèdre, Syrah : that 3 varieties must show 70% of the blending. Other authorised grape : Carignan. Grès de Montpellier wines must result of a blending of 2 varieties at least.

Languedoc – Pézénas

AOC Languedoc-Pézenas since 24th april 2007.

Trading the new wine is forbidden before the first year after the crop.

Pézenas terroir is territory of 15 km square of 15 communes (Adissan, Aspiran, Caux, Fontès, Fouzilhon, Gabian, Lieuran-Cabrières, Montesquieu, Neffiès, Nizas, Paulhan, Péret, Pézenas, Roujan, Vailhan) between the mountain and the plain by the shore. Its altitude ranges from 50 to 300 m.

Grape varieties : the most important are Grenache noir at least, Mourvèdre, Syrah : each variety must show 75% of the blending. Other : Cinsault and Carignan.

Grape must be harvested at 12,5% alchol potentatial.

Red wine production only, vines must be 7 years old.

Short pruning at 10 spurs maximum for each stump.

Yield must be 45 hl/ha maximum.

Languedoc – Sommières

Languedoc – La Clape

AOC Languedoc-Clape since 1985, 625 ha en Languedoc-Clape on 5 villages : Fleury d’Aude, Armissan Narbonne-plage, Salles d’Aude, Vinassan.

80% of the production as red, 10% as rosé and 10% as white.

Dry climat and tough summers (only 60 rainy days so 500 mm of rain in a year), more than 3000 sunny hours, very windy (Tramontane blowing more or less 280 days in a year). Average temperature : 14° C (57,2° F), on of the warmest in France.

The sea breeze is playing a very important role in the life cycle and ripeness.

Vines are surrounded with garrigues and forest of pine trees, in a very wild setting.

Grape varieties :

For reds : the main grapes are Grenache noir (20% at least), Mourvèdre, Syrah ; that 3 varieties must represent 70% of the blending, these wines must result of a blending of 2 varieties at least. Other : Carignan and Cinsault.

For rosés : Grenache noir (20% at least), Carignan, must result of a blending of 2 varieties ; that 2 varieties must represent 70% of the blending. The vinification process results as bleeding of vat.

For whites : Bourboulenc (40% at least), Clairette, le Grenache white, Marsanne, le Picpoul white, le Rolle (Vermentino), la Roussanne. Other : Carignan white, le Maccabeu, le Terret et l’Ugni. Must result of a blending of 2 varieties.

Languedoc-Clape appellation is famous for its whites.

 

Languedoc – Terrasses du Larzac

AOC Languedoc-Terrasses du Larzac spreads on the northern part of the Hérault department and is adjacent to the edge of the Massif Central mountain as a plateau (Causse du Larzac) geology. Altitudes vary from 100 m to 800 m, with an average around 250m high.

Terrasses du Larzac AOC spreads on 32 villages (Moules et Baucels, Montoulieu, Brissac, St André de Buèges, St Jean de Buèges, Pégairolles de Buèges, Causse de la Selle, Puechabon, Argeliers, Murles, Pégairolles de l’Escalette, Laurous, Soubès, Poujouls, St Privas, Usclas du Bosc, St Jean de Blaquière, Arboras, Le Bosc, St Saturnin, St Guiraud, Montpeyroux, St Jean de Fos, Aniane, St André de Sangonis, Gignac, Ceyras, St Félix de Lodez, Octon, Mérifons).

This appellation is producing reds only.

Grape must be harvested at 12% alchol potentatial.

Vines must be 5 years old.

Planting density at 4000 stump/ha.

Short pruning is mandatory with 10 spurs per stump.

Yielding : 45 hl/ha maximum.

The same mediterranean climate, without sea breeze, rainfall happens essentially in autumn and spring. A more important thermic variation, with quite cool nights (the fresh temperature come down from the mountain) and very hot days, favours a slow and gradual maturations, benefic to improve colour and tastes.

Grape varieties :

For reds : the main grapes are Grenache noir (20% at least), Mourvèdre, Syrah ; that 3 varieties must represent 60% of the blending. Each variety must represent 75% of the blending. Mourvèdre and Syrah must enter in the blending at 20% minimum, Cinsault and Carignan at 30% au maximum. These wines must result of a blending of 2 varieties at least.

Languedoc – Picpoul de Pinet

A.O.C. Coteaux du Languedoc since 24th décembre 1985. It’s the biggest white wine region in Languedoc.

Picpoul de Pinet terroir spreads around the Thau pond, from Agde to Pézenas on 6 villages : Pinet, Pomérols, Castelnau-de-Guers, Montagnac, Mèze, Florensac on 1300 Ha.

Short pruning is mandatory.

Maximum yielding : 60 hl/ha.

Grape variety : only Piquepoul blanc.

Geology : red clayous and stony ground, south orientated, on limestone mother plate.

Mediterranean climate (hot and dry summers, soft winters, few rainfall), sea breeze is very important here, reducing the variations in temperature night and day, avoids the heat excess during the day, favours the maturation of that late ripening varierty.

Languedoc – Terrasses de Béziers

340 ha on 6 villages, south-west to Béziers : Cazouls-les-Béziers, Béziers, Nissan-lez-Enserune, Vendres, Sauvian, Sérignan.

Terrasses de Béziers terroir is made of rounding slopes and undulating plain. Arid climate. The ground is principally composed of layers of boulders (sediment desposit named villafranchien) sandy marls and limestone. These deep conditions enable the root to bore the ground to find moisture. The sea breeze balances the excess of heat during the summer.

Grape varieties :

For reds : mainly Syrah blended with the other traditional mediterranean grapes as Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault.

For whites : Marsanne, Roussanne, Grenache white, Rolle (Vermentino), Bourboulenc, Clairette and Picquepoul.

9 février 2010
par Marc Jonas
Commentaires fermés sur Châteauneuf du Pape

Châteauneuf du Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape became officially an appellation in 1936. The vineyard covers a surface of 3 140 ha, on five towns or villages : Châteauneuf du Pape, Courthézon, Orange, Bédarrides and Sorgues. The production is essentially concerned in reds, less tha 10% as white, no rosé.

The traditional wine training is « gobelet » pruning : a short pruning keeping 2 spurs. « Guyot » pruning is applied to Syrah to maintain the fragile branches upright and in order to improve ventilation. concerned Maximum yielding : 35 hl/ha.The content of alcohol must at least of 12°5.

Reds : Handpicking harvest with sorting out of the bad bunch of grape in the vineyard is mandatory. Light crush in order to respect the crop. Fermentations lasting 2 to 3 week in inert vats (concrete, stainless steel) Wine is pumped over frequently, mastering temperatures. Systematic malo-lactic fermentations. Wine are matured in foudres (re-used big oak vats) or new or re-used barrels. Wine is embottled the second year after harvest, or later in order to mature at the cellar.

Whites : Handpicking harvest with sorting out of the bunch of grape is mandatory, conveyed in 50 kg small boxes in order to avoid oxydation. Immediate pressing. Controlled temperature fermentations (18-20°C or 64,4°- 68 °F). Non systematic malo-lactic fermentations. Immediate bottling, 3month after the harvest. Exceptional maturation in oak.

Two new trends in wine making : Desteming tends to develop in the recent generation of winemaker to get rid of the stalks. Punching the cap (during the fermentation) grows kickly to get more colour and stuff in wines.

Grounds

-Alluvial rocky terrasses with boulders, more or less shallow. Undergroung made of sandy-clayous heath, rusty grit, sand, and the mixture of the 3 kinds on slopes covrerd with boulders. `

-20% of the surface is covered with white limestone slabs.

-A few is sandy-clayous.

Climat

The strong Mistral (from the north, cold and dry) is dominating, bring sun (2800 hours / year), the dryest part of the southern Rhône valley. Stone are giving back during the night, the accumulated temperature in the day, enabling a perfect maturation of phenols.

Grape varieties

Whites : Bourboulenc, Clairette, Grenache blanc, Roussanne et Picardan, ce dernier n’étant plus à ce jour multiplié.

Reds : Counoise, Muscardin, Piquepoul, Terret et Vaccarèse peu multiplés ; Cinsaut, Grenache noir, Mourvèdre et Syrah.

In the 19ème century, Joseph Ducos organised these Châteauneuf du Pape varieties in 4 types : liquor – strength – vinosity – finesse :

*“providing liquor, heat and mellowness” : Grenache et Cinsault.

* “providing strength, ability to age, coulour and quenchable taste” : Mourvèdre, Syrah, Muscardin, Camarèse.

* “providing vinosity, pleasure, freshness and a specific style” : Counoise et Picpoul.

* “providing finesse, fire, brilliant” : Clairette et Bourboulenc.

Have Châteauneuf white, 2 years old, 6 – 8° C (42,8 – 46,4 °F), 10 et 12° C (50 – 53,6°F) if it’s a matured white of 5 to 6 years. Drink Châteauneuf red, as soon as the third year, after 10 years according to vintages and the way to keep it, between 16 and 18° C (60,8 to 64,4°F).

5 février 2010
par Marc Jonas
Commentaires fermés sur About Chemins Vignerons

About Chemins Vignerons

Chemins Vignerons has got wine touring experience since 2002 in the french medierranean vineyards

Our energy is coming from the desire to bring the beauty of Mediterranean wine and its vineyards to a wider audience : the sheer beauty of Languedoc’s countryside, the breathtaking views in Provence…

An incredible range of white, rose and red wines of outstanding quality, all concentrating the taste of the terroir (ground and climate) is waiting for you.

You’ll experience special visits and tastings with a french winetour guide, whose knowledge is based on wine (viticulture, wine tasting) and what makes the heritage in southern France (landscape, history, tradition). You will have private tastings in the appellation of your choice : Rhône, Languedoc or Provence region.

These escorted winetours in the depth of terroirs, led by an expert winetour guide (guide de pays = country guide) are made in order to give you all necessary to understand the wine region you’ll visit : we try as far as it’s possible to meet owners or wine-makers.

Few packages are available on the website, but we experienced that most of the demand is to make up the experience of your choice, on request. We are here to advise you, in order to save time on the spot, visit the best villages, open air markets, and of course wineries (famous or underated winemakers).

Whatever you are beginner or advanced wine lover, our concern is to provide you an experience that fit to your dreams.

Wine is a way of life in the south of France. Our motto : wine is something unic because that links people, embodying most of our Culture (taste-history-science-langage-landscape…).

Mediterranean french wines look like the landscape : there are generous, various, fragrant, with a great deal of personality.

5 février 2010
par Marc Jonas
Commentaires fermés sur 2009 Vintage in Languedoc, Rhône Valley and Provence

2009 Vintage in Languedoc, Rhône Valley and Provence

The 2009 vintage has recently been harvested, vinifications are finishing. The spring and the early summer were fresher than usual (hail and Mistral at Gigondas), the last rainfall (locally) happened at the end july. August was scorching, temperature went up to 38° C (100°F) and 40°C (104° F) according terroirs. Septembre was exceptional, hot and dry, equinoctial rainfalls were not too strong. 2009 was not as wondy as the former years (Mistral in the Rhône valley). As results : low yieldins. A vintage thats shows winemakers ability : when harvesting in order to get the perfect phenol maturity. A tough vintage, they had to show patience and flexibility. Wait a few months to discover the real potential of what must be great : wines are maturing at the moment in vats or barrels.

In Languedoc, climatic conditioons were exceptional during the harvest, giving leeway to pick up grapes on the most propitious period. Its was, nevertheless a difficult year : sugar maturity riped quickly. In some area, we noticed important differences beteween the ripeness of sugar and phenols (tanins and anthocyanins). The deep terroirs (in which root can dive deeply underground to find humidity) faced better the sudden heat wave. Around Pézenas, Daurion estate said, Syrah (Shyraz) riped normaly without hydric stress (lack of natural water supply) thanks to the basaltic ground which gives better results in dry vintage. Power and concentration seem to be the character for the reds ; for whites the style must be on the fineness of the aromas. Still around Pézenas at Caux, Nizas estate signals an important gap between alcoholic and phenolic maturities, caused by the drought. This kind of vintage favours late ripening varieties, characterstic of the Mediterranean area as Mourvèdre, Grenache and Carignan. Promising reds with fine tannins underpinned by a pleasant acidity : a great vintage.

At Mas Thélème Estate in the Pic Saint Loup appellation, harvest finished the 1st octobre. Gap in the maturity of each grape made the picking up more difficult, but late grapes Grenache and Carignan seem to be winning this year. Once more , the cool night temperatures increased thermic amplitude giving more power and finess to the wine. In the « Grès de Montpellier » terroir, according to Grès Saint Paul estate, the precocious summer produced a top sanitary condition. Muscatel in OAC Lunel were harvested in early august ! Here, the year enhance the Mourvèdre. Its a vintage that stressed fruity and structured style. 

In Provence, global quality is homogeneous with a level of maturity. At the Souviou estate in Bandol AOC, harvest started the 17th august with Sauvignon and finished the 25th septembre with Mourvèdre for reds. 85 mm of rainfall between the 16th and the 20th septembre didn’t caused any damages : perfect sanitary conditions. Whites and rosés must be on the delicacy, a pale colour and a good balanced acidy level. Reds will be powerful with a good phenolic structure. At the Coulerette estate at La Londe des Maures, roses will be charming and fruity, pale colour due to late maturity of the berry’ skin. In Coteau d’Aix en Provence appellation, the vintage was fabulous, except in the Puyloubier area where heavy showers devastated all the crop ! 

The Rhône Valley benefited similar climatic condition. Rainfall on 16 and 18 septembre (50 and 40 mm of rain) avoided the wilt of the berries and maintained the acidity at a good level : maturity improved normaly without any sanitary problems (in draining ground). The harvest took place late octobre and that good vintage enable the Duseigneur estate to be optimistic at Lirac appellation in spite of a yielding 30% smaller than normaly. Even Mouvèdre riped easily ! The Rocalière estate, managed by Séverinne Lemoine on Tavel terroir, picked up white grapes the 25 of august and finished withh Mourvèdre th 25 of septembre ! Once more, gap of temperature between night and day enhance the quality. As in Languedoc description are going on delicacy and structure. On the same terroir, Fabrice Delorme from la Mordorée estate judge this year as a very positve vintage, particularly for Grenache and Mourvèdre. 2009 style must looks like 2005’s with more freshness.

On Vacqueyras appellation, Christian Vache from la Monardière estate confess its a vintage enhancing terroir : where vines can find water naturaly, therefore clayous and deep ground, resisting naturally to the drought. That’s for him, a great year for Grenache. Hail reduce the yielding but the sanitary conditions were exceptionnal. At Châteauneuf du Pape, 2009 is a vintage on concentration. « northern » grapes as Syrah or Roussanne suffered, but late grapes as Mourvèdre, Bourboulenc and Clairette are producing remarkable results. Grenache according to Julien Bréchet from Château Vaudieu, is really the KING of the appellation. But, as he said, the terroir effect is significant, deep and fresh grounds balanced the heat wave : the style must between 2003 et 2005 ! Leave Hubert Valayer Deurre estate from the brand new cru Vinsobres : « that year was exceptional, producing dark and coloured wines. A yield 20 to 25% less, but we may bet it going to be a wine to laydown… »

4 février 2010
par Marc Jonas
Commentaires fermés sur Grape yellow disease

Grape yellow disease

Grape yellow disease (or flavescence dorée) is from North America. That’s a recent plague in southern France that causes devastation that could become as big a problem as Phylloxera. Since 1987, its mandatory in France to fight against that disease, that leads to heavy loss of yields, and eventually and the loss of entire vineyards.

The origine is a phytoplasma. That microorganism is propagated by a leafhopper (Cicadellidae, suborder Homoptera or Scaphoideus titanus) going from vine to vine where it reproduces. That grape yellows disease is to be found everywhere in south of France from Aquitaine, Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénées and Provence. The disease results as wilt of the berries, leaves turn red for red variety and yellow for white’s, a bad lignification process (hardening of the vine wood). The disease impact vary according to the strength of the plant (drought, hydric stress…) and the variety (Cabernet is more fragile). Symptoms are visible on a part of the stump or on the whole vine. They may be visible very late, sometimes 5 years after the first diseas attack. This grape yellow disease can propagate very quickly, the cicadelle has only one generation a year, hivernation is taking place in winter as eggs. From july to september, female lay 20 to 30 eggs on the bark and branches. There’s five larva stadiums, jumper grub, maximum 5 mm long. Female a slightly bigger than male. Long summer favours the insect expansion as well as cool winters. There’s no straigthforward manner to fight against the phytoplasma. Only chemical means are available to keep the cicadelle (that’s a real problem for organic winemakers, chemical products kill predators of the predator of the vine). Abandoned vines acount a dangerous infection reservoir for the neighbouring vineyards. They must be spotted and immediatly grubbed up and burned, in order to destroy the eggs. Cicadelle lay eggs in march, that hatch between may and june. Contamination risk spreads from june to august. Two kinds of treatments exist : one after laying eggs, the second after hatching and development of the larva.

10 décembre 2009
par Marc Jonas
Commentaires fermés sur Septembre: Wine festival at Saint Péray (Ardèche)

Septembre: Wine festival at Saint Péray (Ardèche)

Septembre: first week end at Saint Péray (Ardèche), Wine festival
Le Cep du Prieuré, Place Louis Alexandre Faure à Saint Péray-07130
Tél. : 33 (0)4 75 74 77 00 – Fax : 33 (0)4 75 74 77 01 http://www.saint-peray.net/

10 décembre 2009
par Marc Jonas
Commentaires fermés sur August: wine festival at Châteauneuf du Pape

August: wine festival at Châteauneuf du Pape

Mid-April : Printemps de Châteauneuf at www.printempsdechateauneuf.fr

August: first week end at Châteauneuf du Pape (84232 ) B.P. 56 – rue Joseph Ducos
Tél. 04.90. 83. 57. 57 www.chateauneuf.com

10 décembre 2009
par Marc Jonas
Commentaires fermés sur July: wines festival at Saint Chinian

July: wines festival at Saint Chinian

July: third sunday wines festival at Saint Chinian
Syndicat des Vins AOC Saint-Chinian 04 67 38 11 69 www.saint-chinian.com

10 décembre 2009
par Marc Jonas
Commentaires fermés sur July: wines festival of Côtes du Rhône

July: wines festival of Côtes du Rhône

July: third sunday at Violès (Vaucluse), wines festival of Côtes du Rhône.
Town hall Cours Rigot à VIOLES-84150.
Tél. : 33 (0)4 90 70 92 11 – Fax : 33 (0)4 90 70 90 15

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