Wine Travels: Cotes du Rhone Villages (v. II)
Laudun, Massif d'Uchaux, Puymeras
Cotes du Rhone Villages second installment covering communes of Laudun, Massif d'Uchuax and Puymeras.
Legend says that near Laudun great Hannibal crossed the Rhone and set his camp. Later an impregnable fortress was built here, for a long time it provided the dominance over the area. The vineyards were first planted for Hannibal and the Imperial Courtyard, local white wine deserved the highest reputation very soon. Even now in this mostly red wines area, every fifth Laudun bottle is white.
The scanty soil of the gravel terraces has excellent drainage, and the vines have to grow long roots in pursuit of water here.
White wines have a high aroma profile, which incorporates honey and notes of garden flowers. The plentiful and roundish mouth is devoted to ripe apricots and peaches. Reds demonstrate complexity in the aroma, they are full of berry confiture, black pepper, coffee, and cocoa. Animalistic notes add them extraordinary elegance.
Powerful and spicy dishes like roast beef with garlic perfectly match Laudun wines.
Massif d'Uchaux commune is fairly young, it was granted with a privilege to indicate its name on the label in 2005. The geologists proved that millions of years ago the land here was washed by the ocean on all sides - in fact, Massif d'Uchaux was an ancient coral reef. Its red sandstones, replete with the remains of primitive ocean dwellers, have excellent exposure to the south and southwest. The vineyards are located at an altitude of 100 to 280 meters and are surrounded by protected forests, which creates a special microclimate here.
A high content of active calcium, silicon, and iron in the soil allows local producers to create red wines that combine minerality, juicy wild berries (raspberries, strawberries) and delicate petals of dried violet and wild rose. In the mouth Massif d'Uchaux reds express all its originality, they are naturally fresh and airy. Tannins are thin but really bright.
Puyméras indicates its name on the labels since 2005, it produces 100% red wines based on Grenache Noir with the additions of Syrah and Mourvedre. Located on the path of ancient migrations of primitive tribes, Puyméras was inhabited as early as the Paleolithic era (at least 10,000 years BC). It was a very busy place under Romans too - the archaeologists have found here lots of ancient Roman columbariums, stelae, unique statue of Jupiter and antique amphoras. In the Middle Ages, Benedictine monks from Cluny Abbey settled here and started to nourish vines.
Puyméras vineyards are located at an altitude of 400 meters, local climate is semi-Mediterranean: cold air escapes from overheating grapes that descends from nearby Mont-Ventoux at nights. Local soils can boast a thick layer of glacial pebbles and outlets of red iron sand. Puyméras reds are very elegant, they are less alcoholic and much softer than most red wines of Southern Rhone. They have a high aroma profile featuring red plum, thyme, rosemary and provide a good aging potential (up to 10-20 years). Mature wines acquire a delicate, velvety taste and reveal luxurious notes of truffles. The best match for young Puyméras is a local duck, while aged wines greatly pair with Jambon.
Find here and in Winester Gourmet Library information about Cotes du Rhone Villages wines, as well as hacks about how to best pair the wines and food, useful tips and gastronomy combination cards and more.