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Posted by pompos 03/30/2009 @ 15:15

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Inquirer Restaurant Critic - Philadelphia Inquirer
The vivid pink brew of Monterey syrah and grenache fruit inside has a refreshingly coquettish balance of sweet and tart. With a kiss of ripe strawberries cut by an herbal, floral, tea-like complexity and spice, it steps up from run-of-the-mill blush to...
Bring on the rosé wine; it's summertime - News & Observer
In the Anjou region of the Loire Valley, the main grape is cabernet franc, and in the Rhone region, the wines of Tavel are made from grenache and other local varieties. Spain has long made rosé wines, usually from grenache/garnacha as well....
Last Texan Standing At National Spelling Bee Falls To “Grenache” - KWTX
... 12, a seventh grader at Nolan Junior High School in Pearland, was the last Texan standing Thursday in the semifinals of the National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC, but he was tripped up by the word “grenache,” which he spelled “granache....
Rosé $20 & less - Seattle Post Intelligencer
Rosé is often made from red Rhone grape varieties, both single varietals like Syrah and Grenache, and blends. Pinot Noir rosé - a favorite - is generally more expensive because of the cost of the fruit. The past few years have seen a rise in the amount...
American Rosé Stalls Out - Wall Street Journal
Beckmen Vineyards Grenache Rosé 2008 (Purisima Mountain Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley). $16.99. Very Good. Best of tasting. Exceptionally crisp and alive, with real stuffing underneath. An edgy rosé that announces itself. Complete, dry and serious....
The Grapevine: Linne Calodo leaves many wanting more - San Luis Obispo Tribune
By blending, Trevisan is able to balance, for example, high ph syrah with low ph zinfandel or grenache and avoid adding acid. And by adding fleshier wine to something that's a little leaner, he ends up with a blend that has a lovely seamless quality....
Garnacha or Grenache? - Fall River Herald News
Garnacha, as it is called in Spain, or Grenache, as it is called in France, is a varietal that thrills many red wine drinkers. It is one of the most widely planted red grape varietals in the world. A late ripening grape, it lends itself to very hot and...
High Five: More places that dare to pour diverse wines -
For reds, a Super Tuscan blend of Syrah and Sangiovese and a Sardinian Grenache prove that this place is happy to veer off the usual Chianti Classico path. (644 18th St.; 244-1353) • Trostel's Dish : Wine flights (three 2-ounce tastings of wines) make...
Blossom Hill serves Wimbledon on-trade promotion -
While rose has long been a summer favourite due to its sweet, cool and refreshing taste, Blossom Hill will be promoting its White Zinfandel and White Grenache varieties as long spritzers as an alternative to a standard glass of wine....
Cotes du Rhone, perfect for the grill - Fall River Herald News
Typically consisting of predominately Grenache blended with Syrah and Mouvedre, but can include Cinsault, Carignane and even a small percentage of white grapes. It is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, or AOC wine, with its very production controlled...



Grenache (pronounced gren-ash) (in Spanish, Garnacha, in Catalan, Garnatxa) is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. It ripens late, so needs hot, dry conditions such as those found in Spain and in the south of France. It is generally spicy, berry-flavored and soft on the palate with a relatively high alcohol content, but it needs careful control of yields for best results. It tends to lack acid, tannin and color, and is usually blended with other varieties such as Syrah, Carignan and Cinsaut. Grenache is the dominant variety in most Southern Rhône wines, especially in Châteauneuf-du-Pape where it is typically over 80% of the blend. In Australia it is typically blended in "GSM" blends with Syrah and Mourvèdre. Grenache is also used to make rosé wines in France and Spain, notably those of the Tavel district in the Côtes du Rhône. And the high sugar levels of Grenache have led to extensive use in fortified wines, including the red vins doux naturels of Roussillon such as Banyuls, and as the basis of most Australian 'port'.

Ampelographical evidence suggest that Grenache is most likely of Spanish origins, with the northern region of Aragon being its likely home. An early synonym for the vine was Tinto Aragonés (red of Aragon). A competing theory has the Italian island of Sardinia (where the grape is known as Cannonau) as the possible originating source with the vine being introduced to Spain sometime in the 14th or 15th century when Sardinia was under Aragon rule. Grenache, under its Spanish synonym Garnacha, was already well established on both sides of the Pyrenees when the Roussillon region was annexed by France. From there the vine made it way through the Languedoc and to the Southern Rhone region where it was well established by the 19th century. Despite its prevalence in nearby Navarra and Catalonia, Garnacha was not widely planted in the Rioja till the early 20th century as vineyards were replanted following the phylloxera epidemic.

Grenache was one of the first varieties to be introduced to Australia in the 18th century and eventually became the countries most widely planted red wine grape variety until it was surpassed by Shiraz in the mid 1960s. Early Australian Grenache was a main component in the sweet fortified wines that was the lynchpin of the early Australian wine industry. In the 19th century, California wine growers prized the vine's ability to produce high yields and withstand heat and drought conditions. The grape was extensively planted throughout the hot San Joaquin Valley where it was mainly used as a blending component for pale, sweet jug wines. In the late 20th century, the Rhone Rangers movement brought attention to the production of premium varietal Grenache and Rhone style blends modeled after the Grenache dominate wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In the early 20th century, Grenache was one of the first Vitis vinifera grapes to be successfully vinified in during the early development of the Washington wine industry with a 1966 Yakima Valley rosé earning mention in wine historian Leon Adams treatise The Wines of America.

The Grenache vine is characterized by its strong wood canopy and upright growth. It has good wind tolerance (which is useful in the Mistral influenced Rhone region) and has shown itself to be very suited for the dry, warm windy climate around the Mediterranean. The vine buds early and requires a long growing season in order to fully ripen. Grenache is often one of the last grapes to be harvest, often ripening weeks after Cabernet Sauvignon. The long ripening process allows the sugars in the grape to reach high levels, making Grenache based wines capable of substantial alcohol levels often north of 15% ABV. While the vine is generally vigorous, it is susceptible to various grape diseases that can affect the yield and quality of the grape production such as coulure, bunch rot and downy mildew due to the vine's tight grape clusters. Marginal and wet climates can increase Grenache's propensity to develop these viticultural dangers. The vine's drought resistance is dependent on the type of rootstock it is planted on but on all types of rootstocks, Grenache seems to respond favorably to some degree of water stress.

Grenache prefers hot, dry soils that are well drained but it relatively adaptable to all vineyard soil types. In southern France, Grenache thrives on schist and granite soils and has responded well to the stony soil of Châteauneuf-du-Pape with the area's galets roulés heat retaining stones. In Priorat, the crumbly schist soil of the region retain enough water to allow producers to avoid irrigation in the dry wine region. Vineyards with an overabundance of irrigation tend to produce pale colored wines with diluted flavors and excessive alcohol. The skin of Grenache is thin and lightly pigmented, making wines with pale color and low tannins. Older vines with low yields can increase the concentration of phenolic compounds and produced darker, more tannic wines such as those found in the Priorat region of Spain where yields are often around 5-6 hectoliters/hectare (less than half a ton per acre). Yield control is intimately connected with the resulting quality of wine with yields below 35 hl/ha (2 tons/acre), such as those practiced by many Châteauneuf-du-Pape estates, producing very different wines than those with yields closer to 50 hl/ha (5 tons/acre) which is the base yield for Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) wines labeled under the Côtes du Rhône designation. The strong wood canopy of Grenache makes the vine difficult to harvest with mechanical harvesters and pruning equipment and more labor intensive to cultivate. In highly mechanized wine regions, such as Australia and California, this has contributed to a decline in the vine's popularity.

Over centuries, the Grenache vine has produced mutation vines with berries of all range of colors. While Grenache noir or "red" Grenache is the most well known, Grenache blanc or "white" Grenache is a very important grape variety in France where it is the fourth most widely planted white variety after Ugni blanc, Chardonnay and Semillon. Like Grenache noir, it is a permitted variety in the blends of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In Southern Franc and Sardinia, the mutants Grenache rose and Grenache gris are also found making pale rosé and lightly tinted white wines. There is currently not consensus among ampelographers about whether Garnacha Peluda or "hairy Grenache" with its downy leaves is mutation of Grenache or just a relative vine. The vine known as Garnacha Tintorera is a synonym for the teinturier grape Alicante which is a crossing of Grenache and Petite Bouschet. In 1961, a cross between Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon produced the French wine grape Marselan.

Grenache is often used as a blending component, adding body and sweet fruitiness to a wine. The grape can be troublesome for the winemaker due to tendency oxidize easily and lose color. To compensate for the grape's naturally low tannins and phenolic compounds, some producers will use excessively harsh pressing and hot fermentation with stems to extract the maximal amount of color and phenols from the skins. This can backfire to produce green, herbaceous flavors and coarse, astringent wine lacking the grape's characteristic vibrant, fruitiness. To maintains those character traits, Grenache responds best to a long, slow fermentation at cooler temperatures followed by an maceration period. To curb against oxidation, the wine should be racked as little as possible. The use of new oak barrels can help with retaining color and preventing oxidation but too much oak influence can cover up the fruitiness of Grenache.

The high levels of sugars and lack of harsh tannins, makes Grenache well adapted to the production of fortified wines, such as the vin doux naturels (VDN) of the Roussillon region and the "port-style" wines of Australia. In these wines, the must ferments for 3 days before grape spirit is added to the must to halt the fermentation and the conversion of sugar into alcohol. The high alcoholic proof grape spirit brings the finish wine up to 15-16% alcohol. These wines can be made in a rancio style by leaving it outside in glass demi-johns (or car boys) or wooden barrels where the wine bakes in the sun for several years until it develops a maderized character and flavors of sour raisins, nuts and cheese. These fortified VDNs and port-style wines have longevity and can be drinkable well into their third decade.

Grenache is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world with France & Spain being its largest principle wine regions. In the late 20th century, total acreage of Grenache in Spain has been on the decline with the vineyards being uprooted in lieu of the more fashionable Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Between the late 1980s and 2004, Spanish plantings dropped from 420,000 acres (170,000 hectare) to 203,370 acres (82,300 ha) allowing France with its 236,500 acres (95,700 ha) to assume the mantle as the world's largest source of Grenache. As of 2000, Grenache was the third most widely planted red wine grape variety in France, behind Merlot and Carignan. From French nurseries, Grenache has become the fourth most widely propagated vine with more than 23 million cuttings sold since 1998 according to French ampelographer Pierre Galet.

In France, Grenache is most widely associated with the wines of the Rhone and southern France. It's history in the Rhone can be traced to the influence of Burgundian wine merchants in the 17-18th centuries who were seeking a blending variety to add body and alcohol content to their light body wines. Grenache, with its propensity for high alcohol and high yields, fit those desire nicely and was widely planted in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas and Vacqueyras regions. Today Grenache is most widely planted in the Languedoc-Roussillon region where it is widely blended with Carignan, Cinsaut, Syrah and Mourvedre. The vine also has sizable plantings in the Drôme department. The vines strong, hard wood and affinity for bush vine training allows it to thrive in the Mistral influenced southern Rhone regions of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas. In Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Grenache noir is the most common variety of the 13 permitted varieties, although some producers in recent years have been using a higher proportion of Mourvèdre. Grenache produces a sweet juice that can have almost a jam-like consistency when very ripe. Syrah is typically blended to provide color and spice, while Mourvèdre can add elegance and structure to the wine.

The grape's thin skin and pale coloring makes its well suited for the production of full bodied, fruit rosé wines. Grenache is the principle grape behind the rosés of Tavel and Lirac and its plays an important role in the Provence region as well. In the Roussillon region, Grenache noir and its gris and blanc mutations are used in the production of the fortified vin doux naturels of Banyuls and Maury. The characteristic of French Grenache based wines depend largely on what other grape varieties it is blended with and can range from the spicy, richness associated with Châteauneuf-du-Pape to the chewy, fruitiness associated with basic Côtes du Rhône Villages. Other regions with sizable plantings of Grenache include the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) regions of Minervois, Fitou and Corbières.

In Spain, Grenache is known as Garnacha and given the likely history of the grape this is most likely the grape's original name. There are several clonal varieties of Garnacha with the thin-skinned, dark colored Garnacha Tinta (sometimes spelled Tinto) being the most common. Another variety, known as Garnacha Peluda or "Hairy Grenache" due to the soft downy texture on the underside of the vine's leaves is also common in Spain. Widely planted throughout Spain, Garnacha was long considered a "workhorse" grape of low quality suitable for blending. In the late 20th century, the success of the Garnacha based wines from Priorat in Catalonia (as well as the emerging international attention given to the New World Rhone Rangers) sparked a re-evaluation of this "workhorse" variety. Today it is the second most widely planted red grape variety in Spain (behind Tempranillo) with more than 203,300 acres (82,300 hectares) and is seen in both varietal wines and blends across the country.

While Garnacha is found throughout the country, it plays a major role in the Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOC/DOQ) wines of Rioja and Priorat and the Denominación de Origen (DO) wines of Navarra. In Rioja the grape is planted mostly in the warmer Rioja Baja region located in the eastern expanse of the wine region. Usually blended with Tempranillo, Garnacha provides juicy fruitiness and added body. In recent years, modern Rioja producers have been increasing the amount of Garnacha used in the blend in order to produce earlier maturing and more approachable Riojas in their youth. Garnacha is also used in the pale colored rosados of Rioja. The vine has a long history in the Navarra region where it has been the dominant red grape variety with nearly 54% of the region's vineyard planted with Garnacha. Compared to neighboring Rioja, the Garnacha-based blends of Navarra are lighter and fruitier, meant for earlier consumption.

Other Spanish wine regions with sizable Garnache plantings include-Campo de Borja, Cariñena, Costers del Segre, Empordà, La Mancha, Madrid, Méntrida, Penedès, Somontano, Tarragona, Terra Alta, Utiel-Requena and Valdeorras.

Ampelographers believe Garnacha has had a presence in the Priorat region of Catalonia for several hundred years (possibly nearly 800 years) but since the 1990s has the region's old vines of Garnacha garnered much attention. Spurred on by the greater "Catalonian revival", a wave of ambitious young winemakers rediscovered the low-yield, bush vine trained Garnacha planted throughout the schist and llicorella based soils of Priorat. This unique combination of extremely old vines (the average age in most vineyards is between 35-60 years) planted at high altitudes on steep terraces and soil produces very low yields (around 5-6 hectoliters per hectare) which makes Priorat a dense, rich concentrated and dark colored wine with noticeable tannins and alcohol levels that can easily reach 18%. The traditional Priorat wine would be almost black in color and require years of aging before it would be approachable to drink. Nearly 40% of all the vineyard land in the Priorat region is planted to Garnacha but acreage in Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Carignan is increasing as modernist producers seek to blend those varieties with Garnacha to produce wines that are more approachable in their youth. These new modern style Priorat tend to show softer, blackberry fruit in their youth and over time develop notes of figs and tar.

In Italy, Grenache is most commonly found as Cannonau in Sardinia where it is a principle grape in the island's deeply colored, full bodied red wines that routinely maintain alcohol levels around 15%. Outside of Sardinia, Grenache is also found in Sicily and Calabria. Grenache has been grown in Israel since the 19th century and was once an important grape in the Algerian wine industry. Today there are still some producers in Morocco producing Grenache rosés. Sizable plantings of Grenache are also found in Cyprus and scattered among the Greek islands.

A clone from Perpignan arrived in Australia with James Busby in his 1832 collection. More significant was the introduction into South Australia of new cuttings from the South of France, by Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold in 1844. Plantings in South Australia boomed, particularly in McLaren Vale, the Barossa Valley and Clare Valley. Until the mid 20th century, Grenache was Australia's most widely planted red wine grape variety with significant plantings in the vast Riverland region where it was vital component in the fortified "port-style" wines of the early Australian industry. As Australian winemakers started to focus more of premium still wines, Grenache gradually fell out of favor being supplanted by Syrah and later Cabernet Sauvignon in Australian vineyards. The late 20th and early 21st centuries saw a revival of interest in Grenache with old vine plantings in South Australia being used to produce varietal Grenache as well as a "GSM"-Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre-blends becoming popular. Varietal Grenache from the McLaren Vale is characterized by luscious richness and spicy notes while Barossa Valley Grenache is characterized by jammy, intense fruitiness.

In the early California wine industry, Grenache's high yields and alcohol level made it an ideal blending component for jug wine production. Early plantings centered in the hot central San Joaquin Valley where it was used to produce sweet, pale colored "white Grenache" wines similar in quality and substance to White Zinfandel. The late 20th century, saw a revival of interest in the variety spearheaded by the Rhone Rangers movement. These producers imported new cuttings from the Rhone valley for planting in the cooler Central Coast region for use in the production of premium varietal Grenache and Rhone style blends. Some historic old vine plantings of Grenache in Mendocino County has also garnered interest in recent years. In the early 20th century, Grenache was one of the first Vitis vinifera grapes to be successfully vinified in during the early development of the Washington wine industry with a 1966 Yakima Valley rosé earning mention in wine historian Leon Adams treatise The Wines of America. Despite its long history, Grenache has been a minor grape variety in Washington but has seen an increase in plantings in recent years due to the Rhone Ranger movement in the state. Older plantings in the Horse Heaven Hills and Columbia Gorge American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) has also begun attracted interesting.

Despite being one of the world's most widely planted red grape varieties, Grenache's colonization of the New World has been limited apart from strongholds in Australia and California. The rising popularity and success of the Rhone Ranger's movement has brought greater attention to the variety and more plantings of Grenache are popping up every year in places like Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and South Africa.

While Grenache is most often encountered in blended wines (such as the Rhone wines or GSM blends), varietal examples of Grenache do exist. As a blending component, Grenache is valued for the added body and fruitiness that it brings without added tannins. As a varietal, the grapes naturally low concentration of phenolics contribute to its pale color and lack of extract but viticultural practices and low yields can increase the concentrations of phenolic compounds. Grenache based wines tend to be made for early consumption with its propensity for oxidation make it a poor candidate for long term aging. However, producers (such as some examples from from Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Priorat) who use low yields grown on poor soils can produce dense, concentrated wines that can benefit from cellaring. The fortified vin doux naturels of France and Australian "port-style" wines are protected from Grenache's propensity for oxidation by the fortification process and can usually be drinkable for two or three decades.

The characteristic notes of Grenache are berry fruit such as raspberries and strawberries. When yields are kept in check, Grenache based wines can develop complex and intense notes of black currants, black cherries, black olives, coffee, gingerbread, honey, leather, black pepper, tar, spices and roasted nuts. When yields are increased, more overtly earthy and herbal notes emerge that tend to quickly fade on the palate. The very low yielding old vines of Priorat can impart dark black fruits and notes of figs and tar with many traits similar to the Italian wine Amarone. Rosado or rosé Grenaches are often characterized by their strawberry and cream notes while fortified vin doux nautrels and Australian "port style" wines exhibits coffee and nutty tawny-like notes.

Grenache is known under a variety of synonyms across the globe. These include-Abundante, Aleante, Aleantedi Rivalto, Aleante Poggiarelli, Alicant Blau, Alicante, Alicante Grenache, Aragones, Bois Jaune, Cannonaddu, Cannonadu Nieddu, Cannonau, Cannonau Selvaggio, Canonazo, Carignane Rosso, Elegante, Francese, Garnaccho Negro, Garnacha Comun, Garnacha Negra, Garnacha Roja, Garnacha Tinta, Garnatxa Negra, Garnatxa Pais, Gironet, Granaccia, Granaxa, Grenache Noir, Grenache Rouge, Kek Grenache, Lladoner, Mencida, Navaro, Navarra, Navarre de la Dordogne, Navarro, Negru Calvese, Ranconnat, Red Grenache, Redondal, Retagliadu Nieddu, Rivesaltes, Rousillon Tinto, Roussillon, Rouvaillard, Sans Pareil, Santa Maria de Alcantara, Tentillo, Tintella, Tintilla, Tinto Menudo, Tinto Navalcarnero, Tocai Rosso, Toledana and Uva di Spagna.

Synonyms for the hairy Grenache include Garnatca Peluda, Garnatxa Pelud, Lladoner Gris, Lladoner Pelud and Lledoner Pelut.

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Grenache Blanc

Grenache blanc is a variety of white wine grape that is related to the red grape Grenache. It is mostly found in Rhône wine blends and in northeast Spain. Its wines are characterized by high alcohol and low acidity, with citrus and or herbaceous notes. Its vigor can lead to overproduction and flabbiness. However, if yields are controlled, it can contribute flavor and length to blends, particularly with Roussanne. Since the 1980s, it has been the fifth most widely planted white wine grape in France-behind Ugni blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon and Sauvignon blanc.

Grenache blanc is thought to have originated as a mutation of the red version of Grenache in Spain. It then spread across the Pyrenees to France, finding a second home in the Rhône.

Grenache blanc is an important variety in the French wine region of the Rhône Valley, often blended with Roussanne in wines and even being included in some red wines. It is a major component in the white wines of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Côtes du Rhône AOCs. Up to 10% Grenache blanc is permitted to be included in the red wines of the Côtes du Rhône Villages AOC. In the Rivesaltes AOC, the grape is used as a blending component in some of the regions vin doux naturel wines. Nearly half of all Grenache blanc plantings in France are located in the Roussillon region where the grape is often blended with Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier and Rolle. In the upper Agly Valley, varietal terroir driven examples are starting to be produced. In white Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Grenache blanc provides fruitiness and fatness to a blend that often includes Roussanne, Picpoul, Bourboulenc and Clairette.

In Spain it is mostly found in the Spanish wine regions along the Pyrenees, particularly in Navarra and the Terra Alta region in Catalonia. It is also widely planted in the Priorat, Alella and Aragon. It is permitted in the white wines of Rioja but is not widely used due to the tendency of the must to oxidize easily.

Tablas Creek has been instrumental in bringing Grenache Blanc to the USA. They imported cuttings from Chateau de Beaucastel in 1992, with their first harvest in 1999. However the name could not appear on labels until 2003, when the variety was provisionally approved by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

In Australia the variety known as "White Grenache" was identified by ampelographer Paul Truel as Biancone in 1976.

Grenache blanc responds best to low fermentation temperatures which produces a fresh, dill scented wine in its youth. The grape is fairly flexible in winemaking and can be exposed to malolactic fermentation, extended skin maceration, lees stirring as well as oak aging. In addition to being blended with Roussanne, Grenache blanc is sometimes blended with Muscat and made in a varietal style.

Alicante Blanca, Belan, Feher Grenache, Garnacha Blanca (Spanish), Garnatxa Blanca (Catalan), Rool Grenache, Silla Blanc, Sillina lanc and White Grenache. Plain 'Grenache' or 'Garnacha' almost always refers to the red variety of Grenache.

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Rhône wine

The steep hill on which the Hermitage AOC grapes are produced, to the right, stands above the Rhône, on this northward view from the heights of Tournon-sur-Rhône.

The Rhône wine region in Southern France is situated in the Rhône river valley and produces numerous wines under various Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) designations. The region's major appellation in terms of production volume is Côtes du Rhône AOC. The region is generally divided into two sub-regions with distinct vinicultural traditions, the Northern Rhône (referred to in French as Rhône septentrienal) and the Southern Rhône (in French Rhône méridional). The northern sub-region produces red wines from the Syrah grape, sometimes blended with white wine grapes, and white wines from Viognier grapes. The southern sub-region produces an array of red, white and rosé wines, often blends of several grapes such as in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

The first cultivated vines in the region were probably planted in 600 BC. The origins of the two most important grape varieties in the northern Rhone (Syrah and Viognier) are subject to speculation. Some say the Greeks were responsible for bringing the Syrah grape from the Persian city of Shiraz. Others say the grape came 50 years later when Greeks fled from the Persian king Cyrus I. Yet others say the grape came from the Sicilian city of Syracuse, from whence circa 280 AD the Romans brought it and the Viognier grape. When the Romans disappeared so too did interest in the wine of the region. Rhône reappeared in the 13th century when the Pope moved to Avignon, at which time the production of wine expanded greatly. The wines were traded to such a degree that the Duke of Burgundy banned import and export of non-Burgundian wines. In 1446 the city of Dijon forbade all wines from Lyon, Tournon and Vienne, arguing that they were "très petit et pauvres vins" - very small and miserable wines. The name Côtes du Rhône comes from public administration in the 16th century and was a name of a district in the Gard depardement. In 1650, to guard against forgeries a set of rules was passed in an attempt to guarantee the origin of the wine. In 1737 the King decreed that all casks destined for resale should be branded C.D.R. Those were the wines from the area around Tavel, Roquemure, Lirac and Chusclan. Just over 100 years later, wines from other parts of the region were added to the C.D.R definition.

The various AOC wines of the Rhône Valley region are produced by over 6,000 wine growing properties including 1,837 private wineries and 103 cooperatives. Those vineyard owners which do not vinify their wines themselves deliver their grapes in bulk either to a winemaking cooperative, of which there are 103 in the region, or sell them to one of the 51 négociants (wine producers and merchants) who blend, distribute, and export on an industrial scale.

The northern Rhône is characterised by a continental climate with harsh winters but warm summers. Its climate is influenced by the mistral wind, which brings colder air from the Massif Central. Northern Rhône is therefore cooler than southern Rhône, which means that the mix of planted grape varieties and wine styles are slightly different.

Syrah is the only red grape variety permitted in red AOC wines from this sub-region. The grape, which is believed to have originated in or close to the Rhône region, is also widely known as Shiraz, its name in Australia and much of the English-speaking world, and has recently become very popular with consumers around the world. For wines bearing the Cornas AOC designation, Syrah must be used exclusively, whereas other reds from the northern Rhône sub-region may be blended with white wine grapes, either Viognier or Marsanne and Roussanne, depending on the appellation. However, while this is allowed by the AOC rules, blending with white grapes is only widely practiced for Côte-Rôtie.

Viognier by itself is used for white wines from Condrieu and Château-Grillet. Marsanne and Roussanne are in turn used for the whites from Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, Saint Joseph, and Saint Péray.

Northern Rhône reds are often identified by their signature aromas of green olive and smoky bacon.

The southern Rhône sub-region has a more Mediterranean climate with milder winters and hot summers. Drought can be a problem in the area, but limited irrigation is permitted. The differing terroirs, together with the rugged landscape which partly protects the valleys from the Mistral, produce microclimates which give rise to a wide diversity of wines. A feature of the cultivation of the region is the use of large pebbles around the bases of the vines to absorb the heat of the sun during the day to keep the vines warm at night when, due to the cloudless skies, there is often a significant drop in temperature.

The southern Rhône's most famous red wine is Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a blend containing up to 13 varieties of wine grapes, both red and white, as permitted by the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC rules. Other nearby AOC regions including Coteaux du Tricastin AOC, Côtes du Ventoux AOC, Côtes du Vivarais AOC, Lirac AOC, Tavel AOC and Vacqueyras AOC may contain even more varieties in the blend. Gigondas AOC, on the other hand, is predominantly made from Grenache Noir has a more restricted set of permitted grapes. Depending on the specific AOC rules, grapes blended into southern Rhône reds may include Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan and Cinsault. The reds from the left bank are full bodied, rich in tannins while young, and are characterized by their aromas of prune, undergrowth, chocolate and ripe black fruit. The right bank reds are slightly lighter and fruitier.

White wines from the southern Rhône sub-region, such as in Châteauneuf-du-Pape whites, are also typically blends of several wine grapes. These may include Ugni Blanc, Roussanne, Bourboulenc, Picpoul, and Clairette. Since about 1998 Viognier is increasingly being used and is also appearing as a single varietal.

Tavel AOC, produced in the special microclimate of the sillon rhodanien (the furrow of the Rhône) by some thirty producers including Château d'Aqueria, Domaine Maby, Domaine de la Mordorée, Domaine Pelaquier, is an elite rosé only, which has been referred to as 'the wine of kings".

Fortified wines (vin doux naturel) are made in the Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise AOC and Rasteau AOCs.

Côtes du Rhône AOC is an AOC that covers both the northern and southern sub-regions of Rhône. Typically it is only used if the wine does not qualify for an appellation that can command a higher price. Therefore, almost all Côtes du Rhône AOC is produced in southern Rhône, since the northern sub-region is covered by well-known appellations and also is much smaller in terms of total vineyard surface. This AOC is also used by the commercial blenders (négociants) who buy grapes in bulk from various parts of the region to bottle, distribute, and export on an industrial scale. This nevertheless makes it the most commonly known, produced, and distributed appellation of the region. Produce from vineyards surrounding certain villages including Cairanne, Rasteau and others may be labeled Côtes du Rhône-Villages AOC.

Red Côtes du Rhône is usually dominated by Grenache.

Other appellations falling outside the main Rhône area in terms of wine styles but administratively within it are Clairette de Die AOC, Crémant de Die AOC, Coteaux de Tricastin AOC, Côtes du Ventoux AOC, Côtes du Vivarais AOC, Côtes du Luberon AOC. These are more similar to Provence wines. In 2004 ten new appellations were officially added to the Rhône region, 9 in the Gard and one in the Vaucluse, which largely parallel the wines of Southern Rhône proper, while two appellations were discontinued for reasons of reforesting and urban encroachment.

In 2004, Costières de Nîmes AOC, which previously had been counted as part of eastern Languedoc, was also attached to the Rhône wine region. In that year, INAO moved the responsibility for oversight of this appellation's wine to the regional committee of the Rhône valley. Local producers of Côtes du Rhône-styled wines made from Syrah and Grenache lobbied for this change since the local winemaking traditions did not coincide with administrative borders, and presumably due to the greater prestige of Rhône wines in the marketplace. Such changes of borders between wine regions are very rare.

Many private wineries also produce wines of their own creation from the available varieties including sparkling and fortified wines, single varietals - particularly from the Syrah grape - and even brandies. These wines however are not usually covered by the rules of a VDQS or AOC, but are nevertheless of excellent quality. They are usually only sold on the premisses.

Several wineries produce wines from organically cultivated vines that, provided they comply with the rules for varieties, plant spacing, pruning and maximum yield, are admitted in the AOC.

The excess production of many domains and cooperatives is released as Vin de Pays which are marketed as Vin de Pays du Gard, Vin de Pays de Vaucluse, etc., or are sold to blenders of Wine from the European Union, and mass food distribution for sale as own brands. Excess wines of the lowest quality, Vin de Table, occasionally become part of the wine lake and are reprocessed into industrial alcohol.

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Provence wine

Red wine from the Côtes de Provence.

Provence (Provençal) wine comes from the French wine-producing region of Provence in southeast France. The Romans called the area nostra provincia ("Our province") which gave the region its name - just north of the Alps it was the first Roman province outside Italy.

Wine has been made in this region for at least 2600 years since the ancient Greeks founded the city of Marseille in 600 BC. Throughout the region's history, viticulture and winemaking has been influenced by the cultures that have been present in Provence, from the Ancient Greeks, Romans, Gauls, Catalans, and Savoyards. This diverse influence has left a legacy in the large variety of grapes that are used to make Provençal wine, which include local varieties of Greek and Roman origins as well as Spanish, Italian and traditional French wine grapes.

Today the region is known predominately for its rosé wine, though wine critics such as Tom Stevenson believe that region's best wines are the spicy, full flavoured red wines. Rosé wine currently accounts for more than half of the production of Provençal wine with red wine accounting for about a third of the region's production. Unlike the 'blush' wines like White Zinfandel known in the US, Provençal rosés are rarely sweet and almost always dry. White wine is also produced in small quantities throughout the region with the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) region of Cassis specializing in white wine production. The Côtes de Provence is the largest AOC followed by the Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence. The Bandol region near Toulon is one of the more internationally recognized Provençal wine regions.

The exact time that viticulture was begun in Provence is difficult to calculate, with the possibility of early inhabitants using indigenous vines to produce wine before the Phocaean Greeks settled Massalia in 600 BC. Archaeological evidence, in the form of amphora fragments indicate that the Greeks were producing wine in the region soon after they settled. By the time that the Romans reached the area in 125 BC, the wine produced there had a reputation across the Mediterranean for high quality. Over time Provence would come under the influence and rule of a vast range of cultures from the Saracens, Carolingians, Holy Roman Empire, the Counts of Toulouse, the Catalans, René I of Naples, House of Savoy to the Kingdom of Sardinia. This diverse spectrum of influences has shaped the viticulture and winemaking styles of Provence.

At the end of the 19th century, the phylloxera epidemic reached Provence and devastated the region's viticulture. Many vineyards were slow to replant and some turned to the high yielding, but lower quality Carignan grape. The arrival of the railroad system opened up new markets in the north such as Paris. In the 20th century, as the region's tourism industry grew around resorts in the French Riviera, production rosé increased as a compliment to the region's characteristic cuisine that feature such dishes as bouillabaisse and aioli.

Provence has a classic Mediterranean climate, with the large sea forming its southern border. Mild winters are followed by very warm summers with little rainfall. Sunshine is found in abundance in this region with the grapevines receiving more than 3000 hours, twice the amount needed to ripen grapes fully. This abundance does have the adverse affect of potentially over ripening grapes if vineyard owners are not cautious. The mistral wind provides both a positive and negative influence on viticulture in Provence. The strong wind coming from the north can cool the grapes down from the heat and also dry the grapes after rain, providing some protection against rot and grape diseases. It can also damage vines that are not securely trained and protected by hillside landforms. In areas where the wind is particularly strong, the most ideal vineyard locations are on hillsides facing south towards the sea with the hill providing some shelter from the mistral's strength. In those areas, the type of grape varieties planted will also play a role since south facing slopes receive the most sunshine and in the warm climate can easily over expose delicate and early ripening varieties which would be better suited on north facing slopes.

The soil across Provence is varied, lacking uniformity and generalization. In isolated areas, such as the Cassis AOC and near the Mediterranean coastline, are deposits of limestone and shale. These area tend to be planted with white wine grapes that perform better in those soil types. Along other coastal regions can be found soils with more schist and quartz composition. Further inland there is more clay and sandstone.

Provence has eight major wine regions with AOC designations. The Côtes de Provence is the largest followed by Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence. Other significant wine regions include Les Baux-de-Provence, Coteaux Varois, Coteaux de Pierrevert, Bandol, Cassis, Bellet and Palette. Unofficial sub-appellations include the Fréjus, La Londe and Montagne Sainte-Victoire regions. The Côtes du Luberon AOC in the nearby Vaucluse département is occasionally cited by some sources with Provence due to some similarities in wine style; the appellation is however officially part of the Rhône wine region and its typicity more closely approaches that of its neighbour on its northern border, Côtes de Ventoux AOC, also a Rhône wine. The region has several vin de pays designations with Bouches-du-Rhône, near Aix-en-Provence, being one of the most common designation seen abroad.

The Côtes de Provence is a large noncontiguous wine region that covers over 85 communes in the eastern region of Provence. The boundaries of the region extend from the alpine hills near Draguignan to the coast of Saint-Tropez. The noncontiguous parts of the reach includes land southeast of the Palette AOC and on the outskirts of the Bandol and Cassis wine regions. In the mountainous terrain near Villars-sur-Var in the northeast part of the reach continues vineyards that can label their wine as Côtes de Provence. The region accounts for nearly 75% of all the wine production in Provence with the vast majority of that production being rosé wine (nearly 80%). While the number is rising, about 15% of wine production is red wine with the remaining 5% white. The main grape varieties of the region is Carignan, Cinsaut, Grenache, Mourvedre and Tibouren with the use of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah increasing. To improve quality, producers are limiting the amount of Carignan used in their rosé and red wine production, putting a maximum of 40% permitted in the wine and mandating that at least 60% of the blend be composed of Grenache, Cinsaut, Mourvedre and Tibouren. There is also an AOC requirement that at least 20% of the rosé blend must come from wine made using the saignee method of maceration.

In recent years, there has been more experimentation in the elevage (winemaking methods) used with a new generation of winemakers beginning to incorporate non-traditional methods of rosé production including the use oak barrels for aging and fermentation. There has begun a renewed focus in white wine production with more winemakers using temperature controlled tanks that allow a cooler fermentation process that is better suited to white wine production. There are still remnants of traditional winemaking in the Côtes de Provence and some producers still use the traditional packaging of their wine in the distinctive wine bottle known as a skittle which has a shape that is between an amphora vessel and a bowling pin.

The Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence is the second largest Provençal wine region, covering over 50 communes in the west and northwestern regions of Provence. The main village of the region is the historical town of Aix-en-Provence. Nearly 60% of the wine production here is red wine, followed by 35% rosé and 5% white wine production. The major grape varieties of this region include Grenache, Cinsaut and Mourvedre. Cabernet Sauvignon was introduced to the region in the 1960s by Georges Brunet of Château Vignelaure. The cuttings came from Brunet's Bordeaux estate of Château La Lagune.The main white wine grapes of the Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence include Rhône like Bourboulenc, Clairette and Grenache blanc as Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc and Semillon. Some producers will make a white nouveau wine (young wine) that is released in December, following the harvest and only couple weeks after the release of Beaujolais nouveau. Though unlike the red Beaujolais wine, these Provençal white wines are not required to have the words nouveau or primeur on the label.

Within the Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence is the smaller Les Baux-de-Provence region which was granted AOC status in 1995. The climate of the region is very hot with the surrounding valley known as the Val d'Enfer (Valley of Hell). Vineyards are centered around the hilltop village of Les Baux-de-Provence and are dominated by red wine grape varieties (nearly 80%). There is very little white wine production with the remaining production being dry rosé. The leading grape varieties of this region are Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah. AOC requirements dictate that no two grapes can compose more than 90% of the blend with Carignan, Cinsaut and Counoise permitted but at a maximize usage of 30%. The use of Cabernet Sauvignon is growing in prevalence but it limited to composing no more than 20% of the blend. The rosés of Les Baux-de-Provence are composed of a minimum 60% of Cinsaut, Grenache and Syrah with similar requirement as the AOC red wine that no two grapes varieties composed more than 90% of the blend. The Les Baux-de-Provence AOC was the first French wine region to regulate that all vineyards be farmed biodynamically. The moved came after most vineyard owners had already converted to organic viticulture, eliminating the use of chemicals that could easily spread from the vines due to the strong mistral winds.

The Bandol wine region, located near the coast east of Marseille and Cassis, is one of Provence's most internationally recognized wine regions. Based around the fishing village of Bandol, west of Toulon, the Bandol AOC covers the production of 8 communes with silicon & limestone soils. Those soils and the warm, coastal climate is ideally suited for the late ripening Mourvedre grape which is the major variety of the region. For both the red and rosé wines, Mourvedre must account for at least 50% of the blend, though most producers will use significantly more, with Grenache & Cinsaut usually filling out the rest of the wine's composition. Syrah and Carignan are restricted in Bandol to no composing no more than 15% of the blend or 10% individually. Nearly 70% of the region's production is red wine with rosé wine filling out the rest of Bandol's production accompanied by a small amount of white production. Red Bandol wine is characterized by its dark color with rich flavors of black fruit, vanilla, cinnamon and leather that usually require at least 10 years of aging before they fully develop. Though examples are made that can be approachable in three years. Prior to release, the wine is required to spend at least 18 months aging in oak. The white wines of Bandol are composed primarily of Clairette, Bourboulenc and Ugni blanc. Previously Sauvignon blanc was used but it is not prohibited from the AOC wines. The rosés of Bandol are characterized by spicy and earthy flavors that can resemble the Rhône rosés from Tavel AOC, with some having strawberry notes.

Bandol is the only French wine region that is dominated by the Mourvedre grape, which performed differently depending on the particular terroir of the region. The soils in the northwest region, from the communes of La Brûlat to Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer, the soil is composed of small pebbles and produces lighter, more delicate wines. On the red clay soil that is scattered throughout the region, the wine produced is very tannic and must be tempered with increased blending of Cinsaut and Grenache. The Grenache grape itself, it typically planted on cooler north facing slopes to prevent the grape was over ripening and making the wine highly alcoholic. The relative infertility of the soil throughout the region helps to keep yields low with the Bandol region having some of the lowest yields throughout France. The use of mechanical harvesting is prohibited throughout the region but its use is impractical due to the style of terracing used on the hillsides throughout the region.

The Cassis AOC, located along the coast between Marseilles and Bandol, is unique among Provençal wine region with over 75% of its production being white wine. The soil of this region is primarily limestone which serves well the major white grapes of the area-Clairette, Marsanne, Ugni blanc and Sauvignon blanc. The dry white wines produced in this area are characterized by their full bodies, low acidity and herbal aromas that pair well with the local seafood cuisine like bouillabaisse. In recent years, local consumption has outpaced supply and limited the amount of Cassis wine that could be exported out of France. Local laws are being developed in the region to protect vineyards from being overrun with commercial and residential development from the city of Marseilles.

In decades past, the vineyard owners of this sparsely populated region would hire prostitutes from Marseilles to assist with picking grapes at harvest.

The Coteaux Varois AOC covers the central region of Provence, in the Var département from where the region's name is derived, between the Côtes de Provence and Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence AOCs. The region is partially sheltered by the surrounding Sainte-Baume mountains which have tempering effect on the Mediterranean influences that is common throughout Provence. This is most evident in the vineyards around Brignoles where the cooler climate pushes harvest till early November several weeks after most Provençal wine region have harvested in early September. This unique terroir has encouraged interest from Burgundy wine producers like Maison Louis Latour to experiment with planting Pinot noir. The region started out as a vin de pays till it was upgraded to Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure (VDQS) status in 1985, followed by AOC status in 1993. Over 60% of the region's production is rosé with around 33% red wine production and small amount of white wine production. The leading grape varieties of the region are Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsaut, Mourvedre, Syrah and Carignan.

The main grape variety throughout Provence is Mourvedre which is the primary component in many red wines and rosés. It is often blended with Grenache and Cinsaut, with the later being used as a significant component in most rosé. Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are rising in prominence though some traditional Provençal wine makers view those grapes with suspicion and a sign of globalization and appeal to international tastes. For the last century, Carignan has been a major grape but as more producer aim for improved quality the use of this high yielding grape has decreased. Other significant grape varieties, used primarily in blending, include Braquet, Calitor, Folle and Tibouren. The major white wine grapes of Provence include the Rhône varieties of Bourboulenc, Clairette, Grenache blanc, Marsanne and Viognier as well as Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Semillon, Rolle and Ugni blanc.

Wine expert Karen MacNeil notes that most well made examples of Provençal wine have flavors and aromas that reflect the garrigue landscape of the region which includes wild lavender, rosemary and thyme. The rosé of the region are normally dry with zestiness derived from their acidity. The red and whites are characterized by their full bodies and intense aromatics. The nature and impression of the wines change significantly depending on if they are consumed as an apéritif or paired with food, particularly the unique flavors of Provençal cuisine. The rosé wine in particular is noted for its ability to pair well with garlic based dishes, such as aioli.

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Côtes du Rhône AOC

Côtes du Rhône (English: Rhone Coast) is a wine-growing Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) for the Rhône wine region of France, which may be used throughout the region, also in those areas which are covered by other AOCs. In a limited part of the region, the AOC Côtes du Rhône-Villages may be used, in some cases together with the name of the commune.

Côtes du Rhône are the basic AOC wines of the Rhône region, and exist as red, white and rosé wines, generally dominated by Grenache (reds and rosés) or Grenache blanc (whites).

Wines have been produced in the region since pre Roman times, and those from the right bank were the favourite wines of kings and the papal community in Avignon at the time of the schism. In the mid 17th century the right-bank district of Côte du Rhône had issued regulations to govern the quality of its wine and in 1737 the king ordered that casks of wine shipped from the nearby river port of Roquemaure should be branded with the letters CDR to introduce a system of protecting its origin. The rules for its Côte du Rhône thus formed the very early basis of today's nationwide AOC system governed by the INAO. The name was changed to Côtes du Rhône when the left-bank wines were included in the appellation some hundred years later. The appellation received full recognition by a High Court decision in 1937, and the rules were revised in 1996 and 2001 to take into account new conditions of production.

Roquemaure is known as "La Capitale des Amoureux", or "The Capital of Lovers". In 1868 the relics of St. Valentine arrived after being purchased from Rome by Maximilian Richard, a local dignitary as it was believed that the relics would protect the vines from phylloxera which ravaged the vineyards in 1866. The relics are kept in the 14th century collegiate church and each year the St Valentine Festival of the Kiss attracts over 20,000 people.

At the generic level, the official AOC Côtes du Rhône region stretches 200 km from Vienne in the north to Avignon in the south and from the foothills of the Massif Central in the west to the fore-slopes of the Vaucluse and Luberon mountains east of the town of Orange. 171 communes in the French departments of Ardèche, Bouches du Rhône, Drôme, Gard, Loire, and Vaucluse are concerned with production from the 83,839 (2008) hectares of vineyard. The average yield is 52 hectolitres per hectare. Wines of all three colours must have a minimum alcohol content of 11%. The average annual production of CDR of around 3.3 million hectolitres - 419 million bottles - (2005/2006), is assured by 5,292 concerns including 5,202 growers, 875 private producers, 70 co-operative wineries, and 20 merchant/producers and blenders, making it one of the largest single appellation regions in the world.

Red and rosé wines are made from Grenache Noir, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignane, Counoise and Mourvèdre grapes varieties. A maximum of 20% white varieties may be used in the rosés. With the exception of Northern wines using a majority of Syrah, all reds must contain a minimum of 40% Grenache to be blended into the Côtes du Rhône, and up to 5% of white grapes may be used. The whites must contain a minimum blend of 80% Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Bourboulenc, and Viognier. Ugni Blanc and Picpoul Blanc may be used as secondary varieties.

1. Côtes du Rhône septentrional in the northern part of the region from Vienne to Valence. The vines are cultivated on very steep slopes making the harvest extremely arduous. The grapes are manually picked and have to be hauled up the hillside on trolleys, a feature which adds to the price.

2. Côtes du Rhône méridional from Montélimar to Avignon in the southern latitudes, produced by 123 communes. The great majoritiy of these are cultivated on the eastern side of the Rhône between the river bank near the town of Orange, and the Vaucluse-Luberon chain of mountains.

The reds range in colour from deep crimson and ruby to almost purple and are generally full-bodied with rich but smooth tannins, though Lirac and others from the right bank tend to be somewhat lighter. They all go very well with game and other rich meat dishes.

The whites range from dry with a tang of citrus to fuller, rounder wines which can be consumed as an aperitif. Condrieu, a septentrional, is one of the rarest white wines in the world and is produced from 100% Viognier - a notoriously difficult grape to vinify.

Year of Production : In general, the year-to-year climate of the region remains fairly constant although there may be rare occasions of spring frost which may damage the buds, thus reducing the overall yield. Drought may also affect the quantity of production. Sunlight levels are usually the average to be expected. The year of production on a label is therefore not necessarily a sign of any particular quality due to exceptionally favourable wine growing weather; it is more indicative of how the wine can be expected to have matured over a number of years.

Further up the scale from the Côtes du Rhône AOC the Côtes du Rhône-Villages AOC is produced by 95 authorized communes in the departments of the Ardèche, the Drôme, the Gard, and the Vaucluse. The appellation includes 95 communes, with a total of approximately 3,000 hectares under cultivation. The average yield is approximately 38 hectolitres per hectare. The Grenache grape is required to be present at not less than 50%, with 20% Syrah and/or Mourvèdre. A maximum of 20% of other authorised varieties is permitted. The minimum required alcoholic strength is 12%.

At the most demanding level of distinction, a total of 15 crus are allowed to be recognised by their village name without requiring the mention of Côtes du Rhône on the label. With the unique exception of Château-Grillet, a white septentrienal within the AOC Condrieu, a feature of the nomenclature of CDR wines is that at the top level they are named only after their villages, and not after châteaux as is usual for Bordeaux wines. Tavel is a rosé only, very light and dry, which is usually drunk chilled, and can be enjoyed at anytime of the day. Beaumes de Venise AOC, Château-Grillet AOC, Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC, Condrieu AOC, Cornas AOC, Côte-Rôtie AOC, Crozes-Hermitage AOC, Gigondas AOC, Hermitage AOC, Lirac AOC, Saint Joseph AOC, Saint Péray AOC, Tavel AOC, Vacqueyras AOC, and Vinsobres AOC.

Not all growers produce their own wine, their grapes either being delivered to the co-operative wineries where the wine can be purchased in bottles and in bulk 5 liter and 10 liter plastic containers, or to the merchants who have facilities for vinification, bottling, and distribution on a commercial scale. Independent producers generally deliver their wine in bulk to the merchants for blending, bottling, and commercial distribution.

Some producers have a small quantity of their wine bottled for sale at the property, although the production of Côtes du Rhône in the region is so vast that there is little advantage for the private producers to do their own bottling. An exception would be the producers who, known for the their higher appellations, may wish to gain extra distinction by including mise en bouteille à la domaine (bottled on the premises - often by a visiting mobile bottling and labeling plant), or mise en bouteille dans nos chaix (out sourced bottling) on their labels.

Larger domaines may have their own bottling machinery particularly if, in accordance with the regulations for the AOCs, they also produce wines of the higher denominations of Côtes du Rhône Villages, Côtes du Rhône Villages (named village), crus, and speciality wines. In theory producers of any of the other higher appellations - Côtes du Rhône Villages, Côtes du Rhône Villages (named villages) and crus from the area of the AOC could label their wines Côtes du Rhône as long as it meets the AOC requirements, and occasionally, in order to avoid a glut and maintain prices, wines are declassed and sold as a lower denomination or in bulk for blending.

Cooperative wineries distribute their bottled wine to wholesale and retail outlets in the region and to a lesser extent, to a customer base of retailers in other parts of the country. Marketing and distribution on a large scale, including export, is carried out by the merchants.

Producers of Côtes du Rhône wines are members of the Syndicat des Vignerons des Côtes du Rhône, and at a higher level their interests are represented by Inter Rhône, which represents all the wine-growing and wine merchants of the Côtes du Rhône and the Rhône Valley and combines all promotional, economic and technical actions concerning AOC wines of the region.

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Source : Wikipedia