Vines have been cultivated in the region since the 6th century BC, with viticulture flourishing in the Middle Ages under the impetus of the Church, with the wine becoming known for its quality since the 15th century. The Bishop of Uzès was very proud of his wine, and promised a bottle to young married couples who never argued, giving rise to the proverb “A volon gagna la vigno de mousso d’Uzès” (They are after some of Father Uzès’ wine) that pokes fun at young couples seen as being “too perfect”.
The Duché D’Uzès joined the upper crust of the wine world by gaining AOC status in July 2012. The wines are made using the grape varieties found in the Rhone Valley (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Clairette, etc.).
The wines of the Duché d’Uzès are all blended wines. Grenache, Syrah, Viognier, Cinsault, Carignan, or even Mourvèdre and Marsane all release the full flavours that make the Duché d’Uzès wines so distinguished.
Aromatic, spiced, and fruity, Duché d’Uzès red wines often bear a hint of liquorice, pepper, and black olive, proudly revealing their southern temperament and shared identity. These powerful wines of a deep red are made using the great Mediterranean grape varieties: mainly Grenache Noir and Syrah, occasionally married to Carignan Noir, Mourvèdre Noir, and Cinsault Noir.
Duché d’Uzès rosés present a bouquet of white flowers and red berries and boast a rose petal shade. Their vivid freshness is what makes them so delicious: wine that is a pleasure to drink, dominated by Grenache, blended with Syrah or Cinsault.
With their golden colour and powerful bouquet of rich citrus notes, Duché d’Uzès white wines perfect the trinity. Out of these top-quality wines, Viognier and Grenache Blanc are particularly outstanding.
The wines of the Duché d’Uzès: 2000 years of history…
In the 6th century BC, the Phoenicians and Greeks first planted vines in the region, a practice continued by the Romans, while in the Middle Ages wine gained a powerful symbolic significance in the eyes of the clergy. Used not only in communion, the bishop’s wines were also a status symbol, and flowed freely into the cups of prestigious guests.
In the 15th century, vines were planted on the sun-kissed hillsides reclaimed from the scrubland. At the time, there was talk of an excellent vineyard and “Noble Wines”. Racine, holidaying in Uzès, claimed that the wine was “the best in the kingdom”.
Father Uzès’ vineyard:
The Promenade des Maronniers and the parkland, once property of the Diocese, were planted with vines. Around 1400, filled with pride for his vineyard, the Bishop looked for a way to share it with the people. He came up with the idea of advertising that “on the 1st of January, I will offer a carafe of white wine to any married couple who completed their full first year of marriage without an argument”. The records are silent as to how many enjoyed this grand gesture! But it did give rise to the French saying “They are after some of Father Uzès’ wine”, used to describe young couples who promise never to argue, and people with grandiose plans for the future.
In 1989, the Duché d’Uzès began the process of earning registered designation of origin AOC status. This appellation is not intended to produce vast quantities of wine, but rather a high-end, top-quality wine. This long journey was rewarded with AOC certification in July 2012.
View the decrees granting appellation status (INAO)2013Création de l'AOC Duché d’Uzès
The Duché d’Uzès lies between Nimes and Alès, with the town of Uzès in the east of this area. The area is bordered by the foothills of the Cévennes to the west, the Lussan limestone massif, with the 630 m Mont Bouquet summit, to the north, while vast limestone plateaus and woodland expand out to the east and south, standing between Nimes, Sommières, and the Rhone Valley. The Gardon River, a major local water source, crosses the area from northwest to southeast.
The area enjoys a Mediterranean climate, though slightly gentler due the distance from the coast and the high ground that curbs the maritime influence. The temperature varies more widely than in coastal regions, with the average annual temperature dropping one or two degrees between the southeast and northwest of the area.
The local geology has created a variety of small formations with pockets of sandstone, marl, pebbles, scree, alluvia, hard limestone, etc. These formations are dotted across the landscape, forming the mosaic of soils that are one of the strengths of the Duché d’Uzès vineyard. In 1985, a survey mapped the area’s winemaking potential, finding uniform parcels of land in order to organise planting and optimise the grape varieties used to produce the AOC.
Les chiffres du Duché d'Uzes
surface area271 hectares
Total production10 766 hl
- 54% Red
- 25% White
- 21% rosé
Average yield achieved40 hl/ha
*Export figures according to the most recent research
Source : Harvest statement 2016