| CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES
In Laudun, legend is that on the 24th of June each year, the golden goat (of which Provençal poets wrote) appears in a deep chasm surrounded by flames. This reverie is all that remains of the summer solstice rites of the Laudun sun worshippers.
Laudun, one of the original four Côtes du Rhône Villages,
stretches up a steep limestone slope and the flat area at the top of the
village was used for a Roman encampment - and it still goes by the name
Camp de César. It is here that Amphorae from 3rd and 2nd centuries
BC have been discovered indicating that vineyards have existed in Laudun
since Roman times. Even so, wine wasn't widely recognized from this area
until the 17th Century.
Wines The Laudun, made from 50 year old Grenache and 60 year old Mourvèdre vines, is a bright purple-red color, dense on the palette and offers aromas of ripe fruit, stone and spice. This wine is best in it's youth but will easily age 2-4 years and goes very well with grilled meats or a traditional plate of charcuterie (assorted cold meats).
Vineyards Éric's Laudun vineyards are located in the commune of Tresque. There are two Grenache vineyards, both gobelet trained and planted about 1 meter apart. The Mourvèdre vineyard is also gobelet trained and planted about 1 meter apart.
Terroir Laudun, on the western bank of the Rhône in the Gard département, is bordered to the North by the river Cèze and is south of Saint Gervais and Chusclan. The climate is Mediterranean with the exception that le mistral will blow her brutal gusts and the Cèze and Rhône moderate the extremes in temperature.
The red clay soil found in the Grenache vineyards consists of decomposed
limestone from the Mesozoic era as well as gravel. The soil of the Mourvèdre
vineyard is quite different, consisting of a combination of alluvial decomposed
limestone and siliceous.
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 with the Grenache in mid September and finished the first week of October with the nearly perfect Mourvèdre grapes that had a powerful pepper aroma!
© 2003 Éric Texier