Welcome to Southern Rhone, starting at Montelimar and endingin Nimes.
Around the city of Avignon is where the Cotes du Rhone vineyards stop.
Unlike in Northern Rhone where the vineyards flank the Rhone river, Southern Rhone vineyards spread out far away for the river up to 80km away
Climate is Mediterranean
The sun shines in Southern Rhone, approx 2,700 hours per year
High dirunal temperature swings, days can be very hot and the nights quite cold
Dry with cloudy skies, no frost hazard like the north.
Very sunny, hot and arid and cool nights.
High dirunal temperautre swings in this warm climate produce completely ripened grapes, in addition to this they have a complex profile with diverse aromas profile and still maintain their acidity.
These growing conditions are perfect for many grape varieties.
Sun is still shining, warm, windy and usually quite dry with little rain
Little to no risk for mildew or rot. The only threat to grapes is drought and the fierce Mistral winds
Sun goes away, the region cools down and the rain follows without any snow
Vines only do not undergo true dormancy.
5 principal soil types
Create powerful wines
Age worthy tannic wines
Provides great acidity and polished tannins
Full bodied wines, black fruit, leather and spice
Loess (silts and sands that have been blown)
Large plains covered in galets (pebbles) and mountains in the back drop
When the Alps were pushed upward centuries ago they formed many peaks and mountains. The vineyards that are planted on the slopes or at the base of these mountains benefit from the cooling air that sweeps down as dusk settles.
Mount Ventoux and Mount Luberon are in the Eastern horizon
In Southern Rhone, There are 27 grape varieties
The wines produced here are typically blended
Inside the Les Cotes du Rhone - 24 varieties
red and white and in different AOCs different proportions are permitted
In the entire Rhone valley, North and South - 31 grape varieties
Muscat a Petits Grains Blanc
Rolle (only in Costieres and Luberon)
Maccabeu (in Costieres only)
Pascal (little to none, disappearing)
Grenache Gris (rose production)
Clairette Rose (rose production)
Styles of wine produced by these white grapes
Dry white wine
Sweet fortified wine "Vin Doux Naturels" or VDN
Dry still rose
Counoise (barley planted, and only in Tavel and Chateauneuf-du-Pape)
Styles of wines produced by these red grapes
Dry red wine
Sweet, fortified "Vin Doux Naturels" or VDN
Majority of vines are trained this way
Traditional training system with no trellis, stakes or support system
Vines are trained low to the ground, this protects the vines from the Mistral winds
Now days, vignerons planting new vines will often trellis to offer better sun exposure and minimise humidity in the canopy.
Compared to Northern Rhone the vines are planted further apart, this is due to lack of soil and water.
If producers wish to irrigate their vines they must submit a special request and have it approved
Harvest, machine or by hand. Vines trained in the traditional Gobelet method are usually hand harvested as they are low to the ground. The only place where the grapes must be hand-harvested by law is Beaumes de Venise AOC