Grignan-les-Adhémar

History and spirituality

Planted among fields of lavender and thyme or olive groves, on land long famous for its truffles, the wines soak up the scents and aromas distilled by the generous sun of the 'Drôme provençale'…

  1. Evergreen oaks and pines set against a sky-blue background provide a setting worthy of the vines. Grignan les Adhémar is a secret garden – every discovery sparks a sense of wonder, and every time-out becomes a reverie.
    Christophe Tassan

    Sommelier and Rhone Ambassador

    The Grignan-les-Adhémar AOC growing area lies to the south of Montélimar, covering areas of garrigues on the left bank of the Rhone. Planted among fields of lavender and thyme or olive groves, on land long famous for its truffles, the vines soak up the scents and aromas distilled by the generous sun of the Drôme provençale…

    A further attraction of this well-favoured region is its fine architectural heritage. Castles, chapels, ramparts, suspension bridges, wash-houses and statues are common features of a landscape imbued with history and spirituality… Grignan, dear to Mme de Sévigné, who settled there for the latter part of her life, radiates elegance, harmony and taste.

    Grown midway between the northern and southern reaches of the Rhone Valley, Grignan les Adhémar wines exhibit a fine balance between the easy-drinking qualities of the Grenache grape and the power of Syrah… Their style, developed over the years, has earned them a reputation as wines of bewitching appeal.

    “Ilex and pine trees against a pure blue sky form the setting for these vineyards.
    Grignan les Adhémar: a secret garden, each new discovery a source of wonder, each moment’s rest a time to dream.”

    Grape varieties




    Grignan les Adhémar red wines are made from blends of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Cinsault grapes. Marselan, which contributes fruity/spicy notes, has recently been added to the official palette of varieties. Ranging from bright ruby to deep red, with highlights of purple or garnet, these wines develop a nose of mild spice, red and black-berry fruits, liquorice and garrigue. Some express floral, oaky and toasty notes. Vintages composed predominantly of Syrah can be aged for up to ten years.

    The rosés, made from Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Cinsault, are obtained by pressing or by the “saignée” method (drawing off pink juice from a vat in which red wine is being vinified). Fruity and elegant , with both fresh and warm-hearted nuances and a positive tendency to linger on the palate, they account for 20% of total production. They should be drunk within a year of bottling.

    The whites, uncommon but promising, are made from varieties well suited to the garrigue environment: Marsanne (which contributed aromatic intensity and elegance), Roussanne (for its stylishness, complexity and fine balance), Bourboulenc (for vitality), Clairette (for its freshness and appley flavours), Grenache blanc (for persistence in the mouth and rounded mellowness) and Viognier (for its complex and powerful flavours of peach, apricot, honey and spices). Drunk young, they have an admirable freshness; as they age, they develop a more mineral quality.

  2. History

    Vines were first planted at Grignan-les-Adhémar by the Phoenicians in the 5th century BC. The region was then developed by the Romans, becoming one of the most prosperous wine-growing areas in classical and post-classical Gaul. This was thanks largely to the Rhone, which provided an essential communications and transport artery.
    The vineyards found a new lease of life in the 1960s. When they were given VDQS (Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure) status in 1964, they covered a mere 365 hectares, as compared with 2,500 a hundred years earlier! They obtained AOC status on 27 July 1973, as “Coteaux du Tricastin”, an appellation changed to Grignan les Adhémar in 2010.

    View the decrees granting appellation status (INAO)

    2010
    Birth of AOC Grignan-les-Adhémar
  3. Geography

    The Grignan-les-Adhémar production area lies on the left bank of the Rhone, between the regions of Dauphiné and Provence, stretching from Montélimar as far as Saint Paul Trois Châteaux. The well-wooded landscapes still bear traces of the areas agricultural past, when a variety of crops were grown.

    Climate

    Mediterranean, influenced by the mistral.

  4. Soils

    Of great geological diversity, giving birth to an infinite variety of wines.

    The sub-soil consists mainly of clayey limestone or sand, but the surface stratum varies from area to area. There are four distinct geological formations within the official growing area:

    • Round pebbles, rolled and worn smooth by the Rhone. The wines grown on these soils are characterised by their complexity, generosity and wealth of expression.
    • The high terraces of the Rhone (150 to 200 metres), clayey-limestone soils, surrounded by verdant hills. These geological formation produce wines of elegance and smoothness, combined with power.
    • Very stony soils or ‘graves’ (stony soils made up of river bed gravel of the past) .These clay soils produce wines with robust tannins, deep in colour.
    • Alluvial terraces along the banks of the Rhone. The wines grown on these soils are characterised by their elegance and smoothness on the palate.

  5. Key Figures

    Production
    surface area

    1 361 hectares

    Total production
    in 2013

    36 537 hl

    Colours

    • 66% Red
    • 11% White
    • 23% rosé

    Sales

    40 584 hectolitres

    Export*

    14% exported abroad

    Average yield achieved

    27 hl/ha

    *Export figures according to the most recent research

    Source : Harvest statement 2013