Wine Travels: Cotes du Rhone Villages (v. III)
Cotes du Rhone Villages third installment covering communes of Roaix and Rochegude.
The vineyard in Roaix covers more than 85% of all cultivated land of the municipality. Its stony soils and cold Mistral, detrimental to other crops, make no harm to vines – they managed to adapt themselves to the harsh conditions and give excellent concentrated wines.
The winemaking in Roaix started way back in the twelfth century when the Templars created their commandery here. After the dissolution of the Templars order, Roaix's vineyards became the property of the Pope, but this didn’t affect its high reputation.
Most of the Roaix vineyards grow in one large valley located on a plateau at 450 meters above sea level and surrounded by even higher plateaus and the foothills of The Dentelles de Montmirail.
Local terroir is fairly complex and offers generous spicy and animalistic reds, saturated, structured and still fresh rose as well as refreshing white wines.
Even in France Roaix wines are almost unknown, they are all drunk within the commune – locals and tourists enjoy the wines here admiring the beauties of local villages and The Dentelles de Montmirail.
mountains. So consider yourself lucky if you would manage to get a bottle of Roaix rose.
It is well known that initially Rochegude was built as a fortress more than two thousand years ago. At that time it was a real stronghold established to control local roads and lands. First vineyards were planted here when Roman took the possession of the fortress. At this time the place acquired its name – it was named Roche Acuta - Sharp Rock. Rochegude quickly became famous in Rome, they were praised by emperors and senators. Emperor Domitian even sent there his viceroy Cassius Severianus, who moved to Roche Acuta with the family and whose main duty was to personally supervise the work of the winegrowers and winemakers. The vineyard here is still called by the locals “La Cassieuse”.
Later on “La Cassieuse” changed lots highly-born hands, its owners were always proud of the quality of Rochegude wines and made lots of efforts to improve them. For example, in 18th-century marquis d’Acqueria ordered especially for Rochegude saplings of Spanish vines he called "Tinto" and "Xérès" which according to documents added to local wines a lot in terms of intensity and alcohol.
The founder of INAO and one of the greatest Rhone winemakers Baron Pierre Le Roy de Boiseaumarié considered red Rochegude the best among Côtes du Rhône Village wines, he especially pointed to its outstanding bouquet. He was sure that thanks to this bouquet he could distinguish Rochegude from any other Southern Rhone reds.
Today - thanks to its perfect exposure and siliceous soils - Rochegude produces a unique red wine, which French tasters call "Plaisir immédiat" ("immediate pleasure"). Its subtlety, purity, and abundance of aromas of fresh berries and fruits (raspberries, red plums, currants, etc.) have pushed local winemakers to begin production of rose wine, which turned out to be very successful. White Rochegude is characterized by a flower rather than a fruit dominant, with aging that turns into a captivating honey aroma with exotic patches of fine spices.
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.