Sheltered by the Dentelles de Montmirail, Vacqueyras stretches out in the baking sun, crafting a wine of colour and depth: a nectar of spice, over-ripe fruit and pungent garrigue scents.Christophe Tassan
The power of balance! Full, delicate, and complex, the wines from this appellation are the result of assemblies that harmoniously combine the qualities of different terroirs...
Tucked at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail on the left-bank of the Ouvèze, this AOC is planted in Vacqueyras and Sarrians, between the prestigious Gigondas and Beaumes-de-Venise vineyards. The red wines will develop aromas of small red fruits and violet when young, and then grow into fragrances of liquorice, woodland, pepper, and spices as it ages. The rare white wines are bright and refined, and the rosés - even rarer - are full-bodied and flexible, with aromas of flowers and wild strawberries.
This wine’s beauty resides in its balance and personality. In Vacqueyras, the assembly results in strong wines with definite character, but always with a specific freshness and finesse. Indeed, Vacqueyras has been the official Cru of the Avignon festival since 1998
For the red wines (97% of production), the main variety used is Granache Noir (at least 50%), followed by Syrah and Mourvèdre (at least 20%). In total, 90% of all vines planted are either Grenache, Syrah, or Mourvèdre, and other Côtes du Rhône varieties may be used up to a maximum of 10%. N.B. Carignan, formerly forbidden, has recently been authorized.
The red wines have a deep colour: a fine red with a hint of ruby for young wines, and a deep red for older wines. The nose quickly unveils fruits: black cherry, stone and ripe, with notes of preserved fruits such as figs in aged vintages. Normally, time brings out the spiced nuances, together with leather and game, or even a light smoky note. They are robust, strong, and rich wines with a pleasant finish.
White wines have a superb, slightly golden, colour and their floral bouquet is rich and fragrant... like scrubland. The wines are a nice light yellow with shades of green, and these bright wines are produced from Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Roussanne, Marsanne, and Viognier varieties, which must not total more than 80% of the vineyard. They have a floral nose with notes of acacia and broom, sometimes with a hint of citrus.
Roman colonization led to the cultivation of vines in the Rhône Valley, and was especially prominent around Orange in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. The remains of a Roman villa were discovered in Vacqueyras - Vaqueiras, in Provençal - and the town takes its name from the Latin Valléa Quadreria, which means “valley of rocks”.
However, the first written record of winemaking in Vacqueyras is found in the Middle Ages. In 1414, the first land register for the Comtat Venaissin records vines present around the village. In 1448, taxes on wines and grape harvests in Vacqueyras are mentioned.
Following the revolution, the vineyards of Comtat Venaissain, including Vacqueyras, were accorded to France in 1791. In 1937, Vacqueyras was added to the Côtes du Rhône area. In 1955, it joined Côtes du Rhône Villages. In 1967, Vacqueyras became Côtes du Rhone Villages, together with many other towns. Finally, Vacqueyras obtained its official title as a local Appellation on 22 February 1990, when it was granted by the INAO (National AOC Institute).
Since then, its production has been governed by strict rules. The basic yield, for example, is set at 36 hectolitres per hectare of vine: making it one of the lowest in all of France. The harvest must be sorted and the vines must be at least three years of age to provide the right kind of grapes for Vacqueyras wine.
View the decrees granting appellation status (INAO)1990Birth of AOC Vacqueyras
The vineyard extends across Vacqueyras and Sarrians in the Vaucluse, at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail.
Mediterranean, it boasts an incredible asset: the Mistral cleanses the vineyard. It protects the vines from a number of fungal diseases and removes parasitic insects. Rain comes in well marked seasons, and temperatures soar during the summer.
At the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail, the westernmost part of the Massif des Baronnies, the terroir of this appellation is composed of alluvial soils and glacial terraces of Riss glaciation. The soil is sandy-clay with banks of pebbles on the terraces of the Ouvèze.
surface area1 412 hectares
Total production45 620 hl
- 95% Red
- 4% White
- 1% rosé
Average yield achieved32 hl/ha
*Export figures according to the most recent research
Source : Harvest statement 2016
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