Sheltered and unspoilt, Saint-Gervais is a stretch of sandy and sometimes chalky soil whose wines have a light touch. Their one desire? To conjure a supple sensation.Christophe Tassan
Every village has its legend! At St-Gervais, whose vineyards were laid out by the Romans, they say that the church is built over a temple dedicated to Jupiter… and given that Bacchus was born from Jupiter’s thigh, the destiny of this village was clearly a foregone conclusion!
Roman remains have been found in the area: pottery, tombs, traces of domestic architecture… But wine-growing did not really take off in this part of the Gard until after the devastation caused by phylloxera, the pest which ravaged the majority of Europe’s vineyards at the end of the 19th century.
The St-Gervais growing area was first reconstituted in the valley of the Cèze, then extended to cover large parts of the hillsides just thirty years ago. Driven by this urge to rebuild, as well as a concern for quality, the local wine-growers obtained Côtes du Rhône Villages status for St-Gervais in 1977.
The vineyards now cover 130 hectares, and their wines are made from blends of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault grapes. Orientated east-west, and planted in gravelly, stony soils, the vines produce mellow red wines with notes of red-berry fruits and spices, and can be enjoyed young. The rosés are full-bodied and leave a lingering aftertaste, while the brilliant whites are distinguished by attractive floral notes.
The grape blends used for making AOC red wines must contain a minimum of 50% Grenache, together with at least 20% Syrah and/or Mourvèdre. The other varieties permitted by the appellation must not exceed 20%. These wines will keep for several years.
Where rosés are concerned, the main constituent must be Grenache, supplemented by at least 20% of Syrah and/or Mourvèdre. White grape varieties (Grenache, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussanne, Bourboulenc and Viognier) must not account for more than 20% of the mix. These are “vins de table” and should be drunk straight away.
The appellation’s white wines must contain 80% of the following varieties: Grenache blanc, Clairette blanche, Marsanne blanche, Roussanne blanche, Bourboulenc blanc, Viognier blanc. Saint Gervais whites should be drunk young.
The minimum alcohol content for the appellation’s red wines is 12,5°, while for the rosés and whites it is 12°.
There is still evidence of the Roman colonisation at Saint Gervais: the remains of several villas and workshops, which can be viewed in the low-lying areas. The Romans contributed to the development of viticulture in the region, promoting the reputation of Saint Gervais wines. The Saracens and Visigoths also passed this way during their migrations, leaving a number of burial sites.
For centuries, a range of agricultural produce was grown at Saint Gervais. But gradually vines took over the valley bottoms, then the plateau areas of the Cèze valley, and for the last thirty years have been the dominant factor in the landscape. On-going efforts to improve the quality of Saint Gervais wines were crowned by their being awarded Côtes du Rhône Villages status in 1974.
View the decrees granting appellation status (INAO)1974Birth of AOC Saint-Gervais
The vineyards lie along the River Cèze in the commune of Saint Gervais, département of Gard.
Sandstone on slopes of red clay; stony on the plateau.
surface area71 hectares
Total production2 730 hl
- 93% Red
- 7% White
Average yield achieved38 hl/ha
*Export figures according to the most recent research
Source : Harvest statement 2016