| CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES
Wine has been made around Saint Gervais from at least the 17th century and in 1789 a local aristocrat, the Marquis de Guasc, was even reported to bottle his own wine (very industrious for those days). Sadly his bottling didn't last long for he soon ended up on the guillotine.
Locals argue that wine has been made here for much longer because the
site of the Saint Gervais church is said to have been a temple dedicated
to Jupiter. According to myth, Bacchus, the God of wine, sprang from Jupiter's
Saint Gervais, a blend of 25 year old Grenache vines, 30 year old Carignan
vines and 10 year old Syrah vines, is a cherry-red color and offers aromas
of provincial spice and red fruit. A nice balance of tannins to acid this
nicely fruity wine can easily be enjoyed for 2-4 years.
Vineyards The Grenache and Carignan vineyard are located in les Cellettes. The Syrah vineyard is located on a sandy flat near the Cèze.
Terroir Saint Gervais, in the Gard département, is bordered to the North by the out hills of the Ardèche and sits in a small valley carved by the river Cèze along an ancient fault. Located 5 km northwest of Bagnols-sur-Cèze, it is the most western village of the 16 Côtes du Rhône Villages. The soil found in the Grenache Vineyard is a red clay soil consisting of decomposed limestone from the Mesozoic era and it becomes a more gravely soil as it approaches the plateau. The alluvial soil found in the Syrah vineyard is consists of decomposed limestone and siliceous.
With the Ardèche to the north and the Cèze to the south the Mediterranean mesoclimate in the vineyard is moderated so that during the summer the vineyards are much cooler than normal for the Southern Rhône which results in a later than average harvest.
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 mid September and we finished the Carignan in late September.
© 2003 Éric Texier