Ventoux AOC, Rhône Valley, France
Once consigned to producing grapes for the local “coopérative” the vineyard owners of Ventoux have, in recent years, begun to harness the unique micro-climate and soils of the Ventoux. Led by the Chaudiere family and a few others, Ventoux winemakers have begun to realize this region’s immense potential for wines that will compete, on even terms, with some of the biggest names in the wine world - Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Why Ventoux for Wine?
Ventoux has been rapidly rising in the consciousness of wine drinkers over the past 5 - 10 years. It is in many ways a new frontier - or, better yet, an incredible hidden treasure - within one of the most reknowned wine regions in the world. The Rhône valley has been regarded as one of the world’s finest wine regions - and home to many of the world’s most expensive wines - for centuries. But then, suddenly, the country cousin comes to the party and starts to get attention. What Ventoux offers is a higher altitude (and thus a cooler climate) and very particular soils. This microclimate and terroir means that the Syrah, Grenache and other grape varieties grown here show vibrant and rich character yet retain that lively freshness that winedrinkers are seeking more and more.
Who are the Winemakers?
Some of the best are Chateau Pesquié and Domaine de Fondrèche but the pantheon of quality winemakers is growing rapidly.
When to Visit Ventoux?
Any time of the year but the best times would be in the spring (March - June) or autumn (September to November) to enjoy the cooler weather and to escape the summer crowds. Consider cycling the Ventoux, it is an awesome way to visit the beautiful countryside and the wineries.
Maps and photos courtesy of www.rhone-wines.com and www.chateaupesquie.com
Where is Ventoux?
Ventoux is an AOC (Appelation d'Origine Contrôlée) within the Rhône valley. However, it’s unique location and history means that it is not part of the traditional “Côtes du Rhône” set of appellations. It is located a short distance to the south and east of the main valley. And some would argue that this holds the potential to be a great advantage for Ventoux - to emphasize it’s distinct and unique character. For Ventoux is in many ways a place apart. It has a higher elevation and cooler climate than its Côtes du Rhône neighbours. And it has a unique, remarkable pretty valley all its own in the immediate shadow of giant Mont Ventoux.