A kindly giant who watches over the aromatic garrigue scrubland and the carefully tended vineyards, Mont Ventoux shelters wines conducive to sharing and close companionship – celebrated with a fragrant, flavourful centrepiece.Christophe Tassan
Ventoux wines benefit from an unspoilt natural environment of exceptional biodiversity.
Listed as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1990, the Mont Ventoux site is the privileged setting for vineyards worked with respect for the region’s natural environment and for its historic and cultural heritage.
On the slopes of the mountain, amid holm oak, white oak, cedar, beech, larch and pine, the Mediterranean and Alpine worlds meet and embrace. The area is home to a large number of rare or endemic plant species, as well as to many kinds of deer and birds of prey. This vitality and profusion of scents and savours is a potent influence on the wide range of AOC Ventoux wines.
This is undoubtedly a land renowned for its gastronomy, immortalised by Alphonse Daudet in his story of a food-loving priest: “Les Trois Messes Basses”. It was at the Château de Trinquelage, in this very area, that Dom Balaguère was overcome with temptation at the thought of the amazing Christmas dinner promised by his sacristan… But who could blame him?
Inspired by this profusion, Ventoux red wines are smooth and rich in flavours, ranging from red-berry fruits and spices to leather, liquorice and truffle. Their reputation has gone before them, even to America… In their wake, the fresh, lingering rosés are redolent with notes of cherry, raspberry and blossom, while the whites are suggestive of iris, acacia and citrus fruits…
Grape varieties and planting
The appellation’s red and rosé wines are made mainly from the following grape varieties: Grenache noir, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Carignan. Secondary varieties - Bourboulenc, Clairette, Counoise, Grenache blanc, Marsanne, Marsellan, Picpoul noir, Roussanne, Vermentino and Viognier - are permitted, but may not exceed 20% of the blend. In particular, Marsellan and Vermentino may not account for more than 10%. On the palate, Ventoux reds exhibit notes of red-berry fruits, blackcurrant or blackberry, and sometimes the more complex flavours of vanilla and liquorice. They are pleasingly dense in the mouth and have a lingering aftertaste.
Made from blends of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Carignan, Ventoux rosés are surfing the new wave of easy-drinking wines that can be drunk throughout a meal.
The main varieties that go into the region’s white wines are Bourboulenc, Clairette, Grenache blanc and Roussanne, with Marsanne, Vermentino and Viognier playing a secondary role. They may not account for more than 10% of the mix.
Vines have been grown in this area since earliest classical times. At Mazan, archaeological digs have revealed a potter’s workshop dating from the 1st century BC, which manufactured the earliest amphorae known to have been produced in France.
The Ventoux vineyards developed and expanded during the Avignon papacy (1309-1376). And, over the centuries, Ventoux wines were drunk at the table of the kings of France, along with other great French vintages.
In 1939, the growers established an association, the Syndicat des Vins de Ventoux, to promote the quality and character of the region’s wines. Thanks to their efforts, Ventoux wines were granted the VDQS (Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure) appellation in 1953, and acquired AOC status in 1973.
Voir le cahier des charges de l'appellation (INAO)
The vineyards lie to the east of the Rhone Valley, extending over 51 communes in the département of Vaucluse. Delimited in the south by the Cavalon and protected from the mistral by Mt. Ventoux and the Dentelles de Montmirail, they flourish in a natural setting listed by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve.
Temperate Mediterranean with slight mountain influence (Mt. Ventoux and the mountains of the Vaucluse).
Consisting of sediments laid down by the sea in the Tertiary Period at the base of the limestone massif of Mt. Ventoux, they exhibit an amazing range of geological formations. There are three principal soil types:
• red soils resulting from the break-down of the limestone,
• soils consisting of a mixture of sand and ochre-coloured clay,
• detrital soils overlaid with rolled pebbles or limestone scree from the mountain.
Combined with the general climate of Provence and the many micro-climates associated with the area’s hills, plains and valleys, these variations of terroir lend the appellation’s wines a great diversity of subtle flavours.
En chiffres Ventoux
production5 994 hectares
en 2011273 389 hl
- 66% Rouge
- 4% Blanc
- 30% Rosé
Commercialisation268 369 hectolitres
Exportation*35% export international
moyen annuel46 hl/ha
*Chiffres de l'exportation selon la dernière étude de flux
Source : déclaration de récolte 2011