Secluded and well-protected, Rousset-les-Vignes is an artful little spot where the soil and its crop perform a delicate duet. Nature here is conserved in its purest form.Christophe Tassan
Steep roads and stunning views… in getting to Rousset-les-Vignes, you are taking very much the same route at Hannibal did when he approached the Alps on his way from Spain to Italy! Clinging to the Lance mountain massif, this village is in fact one of the most northerly in the southern Côtes du Rhône region. With only sixty or so of its 300 hectares of vineyards in production, it is also one of the region’s best-kept secrets.
Already in the 15th century, the local land register indicated soils suitable for wine-growing, a sign of the area’s potential. Geologists have since shed a more scientific light on the matter. The zaffer hills on which the vines grow consist of a mixture of sand and fossilised seashells, deposited by the sea eighteen million years ago. These light soils yield fruity red wines, smooth with supple tannins. Wines made from grapes from the top of the slope are fuller-bodied and more robustly structured. They are blends of the Côtes du Rhône’s star varieties : Grenache noir, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. The appellation’s grenadine-coloured rosés are redolent of red-berry fruits.
The blends of grapes used in making the appellation’s red wines must consist mainly of Grenache, supplemented by at least 20% Syrah and/or Mourvèdre. They are dense and deep in colour, with distinctive peach and apricot flavours, developing notes of leather and truffle as they age.
The rosés must contain a minimum of 50% Grenache grapes, supplemented by 20% Syrah and/or Mourvèdre. White grape varieties (Grenache, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussanne, Bourboulenc and Viognier) must not account for more than 20% of the mix. They will keep for between two and four years, depending on the wine-making process (saignée method or pressing).
In the case of Rousset-les-Vignes whites, the Grenache blanc, Clairette blanche, Marsanne blanche, Roussanne blanche, Bourboulenc blanc and Viognier blanc grape varieties must account for at least 80% of the blend.
The minimum alcohol content for the appellation’s red wines is 12.5%, for the rosés and whites 12%.
The fact that Greek pitchers (oenochoe) and pseudo-Ionian wine jars have been found in the area suggests that wine was drunk around here between the mid-6th and 4th centuries BC. Remarkably, the shapes of these vessels exhibit strong Gaulish influences (hull-shaped drinking cups).
In the 11th century, the Benedictine monks of Saint-Pantaléon-les- Vignes built a monumental priory here, backing onto the Lance massif, and began planting vines on the sandstone hillsides. As early as the 15th century, the land register reported several different soil types in the area, an exceptional practice, indicative of a long-standing concern for quality.
The area’s wines were accorded the Côtes du Rhône Villages Rousset les Vignes appellation in 1969.
View the decrees granting appellation status (INAO)1969Birth of AOC Rousset-les-Vignes
The vineyards all lie in the commune of Rousset les Vignes, in the département of Drôme.
Mediterranean type, protected from the mistral by the rugged landscape.
Steep slopes on gravelly sandstone hillsides.
surface area32 hectares
Total production1 280 hl
- 97% Red
- 2% White
- 1% rosé
Average yield achieved40 hl/ha
*Export figures according to the most recent research
Source : Harvest statement 2016