A bundle of colours and beguiling fragrances, where the landscape has womanly curves, Visan makes smooth wines whose finesse is enlivened by notes of spice.Christophe Tassan
Welcome to the “Enclave des Papes”! Visan became a papal possession in 1344 and enjoys exclusive status to this day: it is effectively an enclave, a piece of Vaucluse surrounded by the département of Drôme. This is the realm of the Aleppo pine, lavender, truffles and, of course, the grape vine. Visan has been a Côtes du Rhône Villages appellation since 1966.
Besieging the village on all sides, the vineyards cover a good half of the commune. They have scaled the hillsides to benefit from the best-exposed locations, and descend the gentle, delicately sculpted slopes right down to the plain, forming a delightful picture. Visitors come as much to enjoy the rural peace and quite as to discover the local vintages.
Planted in the clayey-limestone soils of this northern Rhone terroir, the vines, largely of the Grenache and Syrah varieties, with some Carignan and Mourvèdre, yield red wines which are stylish and elegant. They have a bouquet of red-berry fruits and spice, and mineral notes expressive of their personality. Though the reds are dominant, whites and rosés are not entirely excluded from the Visan range. The former, both floral and fruity in flavour, are fresh-tasting with some peppery notes. The latter are redolent of citrus fruit, peach and apricot, on the nose and in the mouth. They manage to be both stylish and satisfyingly full-bodied.
The appellation’s red wines benefit from the full-bodied strength of the Grenache grape (which must constitute at least 50% of any blend), the fruitiness of Syrah and the lingering aromatic properties of Mourvèdre (at least 20%, taken together). They have good keeping qualities and can be aged for several years.
The rosés are pleasantly fruity and peppery, containing a minimum of 50% Grenache and 20% Syrah and/or Mourvèdre. White grape varieties (Grenache, Clairette…) may not account for more than 20% of the blend. These wines should be drunk young, in the first two or three years.
The whites have an agreeable citrus flavour. Grenache blanc, Clairette blanche, Bourboulenc blanc and Viognier grapes must account for at least 80% of the blend. Again, these wines are best drunk in the early years.
The minimum alcohol content for the red wines of this appellation is 12.5%; the figure for the rosés and whites is 12%.
Artefacts from the Gallo-Roman period have been discovered at Visan, evidence that the site has been occupied since classical times. Vines were already cultivated there in the time of Probus (3rd century AD). Visan is documented as having a village grape-press in 1250. Once owned by the Knights Templar, it became a papal possession in 1344.
The Visan wine-growers’ confraternity (Confrérie des vignerons de Visan), the first association of its kind in the region and one of the first in France, was founded in 1475 and remained active until 1792. It was re-established in 1978, when the village held its first wine festival. During their summer session, the members process to the church of Notre-Dame-des-Vignes for the blessing of a vine stock which is then solemnly burned in the Place Marot, while locals dance the ‘souco’ (the Provencal word for the vine plant).
Visan was awarded Côtes du Rhône Villages status in 1967.
View the decrees granting appellation status (INAO)1967Birth of AOC Visan
The vineyards are located in the commune if Visan, in the département of Vaucluse (Enclave des Papes).
Mediterranean type influenced by the mistral.
Clayey limestone, red and stony.
surface area570 hectares
Total production21 694 hl
- 93% Red
- 3% White
- 4% rosé
Average yield achieved38 hl/ha
*Export figures according to the most recent research
Source : Harvest statement 2016