A mosaic of soils, the Massif d’Uchaux is at once impetuous and lively, complex and consistent, offered and hidden, and yields subtle, appealing wines.Christophe Tassan
For two thousand years, this hilly, heavily wooded massif has provided an ideal environment for viticulture. The local wine-growers have carefully defined its borders, retaining only the most deserving plots. They climb the hillside row on row, covering 750 hectares, in a landscape rich in both flora and fauna. In his day, the famous natural historian and entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre chose the Massif d’Uchaux as a favoured setting for his research and observation.
Uniquely in the southern Côtes du Rhône region, the vines here are planted on the bedrock, feeding on red sandstone soils enriched with some siliceous and clayey elements. The exclusively red wines they produce reflect this unusual environment. Their nose is redolent of red-berry fruit aromas (raspberry and strawberry) and delicate floral notes (rose, violet). But their originality, their naturally fresh and delicate quality, is most apparent on the palate. Thoroughbred tannins harmonise perfectly with the spicier flavours of cinnamon and nutmeg. Having a good level of acidity, they will keep for a year or two.
The Côtes du Rhône Villages Massif d’Uchaux AOC applies only to still red wines. Consisting mainly of Grenache noir (minimum 50%), blended with Syrah and Mourvèdre (minimum 20%), they offer a rich and complex range of flavours, with subtle mineral properties supported by a structure of stylish, well-bred tannins. Produced by growers determined to express the quintessence of their terroir, these wines have an outstanding freshness on the palate, but also strength of character, making them suitable for ageing.
Their minimum permitted alcohol content is 12.5%.
The history of viticulture in the Massif d’Uchaux dates back to Roman times, when the region was traversed by the Via Agrippa linking Lyon to Arles. According to historical sources, sales of the wine were authorised in the commune of Mondragon in 1290. It was first subject to taxation in the 15th century, which suggests that it was an important commodity.
Part of the Massif d’Uchaux wine-growing area was granted the Côtes du Rhône appellation in 1937. In 1983, these wines were accorded Côtes du Rhône Villages status and this was extended to the whole Massif d’Uchaux area in 2005.
View the decrees granting appellation status (INAO)2005Birth of AOC Massif d’Uchaux
The wine-growing area extends over the communes of Lagarde-Paréol, Mondragon, Piolenc, Sérignan du Comtat and Uchaux, all in the Vaucluse.
Mediterranean, the vines are grown on well-wooded hillsides at altitudes of between 100 and 280 metres.
Laid down during the Upper Cretaceous period, at the end of the Secondary Era, the soils of the Massif d’Uchaux are mainly chalky, containing a lot of stones. An abundance of silico-calcareous sandstone gives the appellation its distinctive character. The vineyards are laid out on the hillsides and are largely south-facing. The stones therefore store a lot of heat, which ensures that the vines grow and mature well. Thanks to the area’s balanced hydrology, the grapes develop plenty of flavour .
The local wine-growers are strongly committed to encouraging biodiversity, seeking to reconcile their activities with the welfare of the region’s flora and fauna. Their efforts in this direction enhance the special character of this terroir.
surface area201 hectares
Total production6 670 hl
- 100% Red
Average yield achieved33 hl/ha
*Export figures according to the most recent research
Source : Harvest statement 2016