| CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES
Chusclan has a long and prestigious wine making history, tracing at least back to the Romans and later to the Benedictine monks who were known to make wines from Chusclan. Much later, in the 17th century, the wines from Chusclan were quite fashionable thanks to the local aristocratic family, the Counts of Grignan, who being savy marketers, managed to have their estate wines served at the royal table and even named one of their vineyards the "Kings Garden."
Chusclan, 11 km west of Orange and north of Laudun, is one of the original
four Côtes du Rhône Villages. The Chusclan vineyards run north
south on a narrow plane between the west bank of the Rhône and the
Laudun hills as far as Bagnols-sur-Céze.
Wines Éric's Chusclan, made from 25 year old Grenache and Syrah vines, is a beautiful ruby-red color. It is a fragrant wine offering stone-fruit and leather aromas. This is a well-balanced but powerful and lively wine that can easily age from 2-5 years.
Vineyards Éric's Chusclan vineyards are located on the flat sandy soils between the rivers Cèze and Rhône. They are planted 4000 vines per hectare.
Terroir Located in the Gard département, 11 km west of Orange, Chusclan is located on the River Cèze just west of the Rhône. The red clay soil consists of decomposed limestone from the Mesozoic era as well as gravel.
With the Ardèche to the north and the two rivers so close by,
the Mediterranean mesoclimate of the vineyard is moderated so that during
the summer the vineyards are cooler than normal for the Southern Rhône
which results in a later than average harvest. This is similar to the
terroir of Saint Gervais but it is not as
Côtes du Rhône Villages
In 1953 four villages in the Southern Rhône were making wines considered
to be of higher quality than those usually produced under the generic
Côtes du Rhône label. These four villages - Cairanne, Laudun,
Chusclan and Gigondas were not considered to be ready for full appellation
status (like those of Châteauneuf du Pape, Côte Rotie, Hermitage,
etc.) but were certainly superior to the many Côtes du Rhône
wines produced. Therefore the INAO (National Institute of Appellations
of Origin) decided that if these villages followed agreed upon rules they
would create a new status to identify their higher quality wines. Rules
were laid out that governed grape varieties, yields per hectare and the
minimum alcohol strength of their red wines raised from 11% to 12.5%.
Producers following these rules were then allowed to market their wine
as Côtes du Rhône - "Cairanne" for example and therefore
to promote the distinctive characteristics of their local terroir. After
two additional villages joined this illustrious group (Vacqueyras in 1955
and Vinsobres in 1957) a common title was created in 1967 to apply to
all of the wines: Côtes du Rhône Villages. Today there are
16 villages with this status
2001 began with a mild winter that was followed by a warm and wet spring with above average temperatures. Flowering started towards the beginning of May and June and July continued to be warm with heavy rainfall in July. August was hot and dry with temperatures reaching 33°C resulting in the grapes reaching a good maturity. September brought le mistral, which continued for nearly 2 weeks. Harvest commenced in early September with the Syrah and finished in late September with the Grenache.
© 2003 Éric Texier