Exploring Rhone: A Comprehensive Tasting Session of Ventoux Wines

By | 15 April 2024

Mont Ventoux’s prominence in Southern Rhone’s Ventoux appellation cannot be overstated. The renowned mountain, rising to 1912 meters, commands the landscape. This majestic peak is a well-known attraction for cycling enthusiasts globally, being a challenging stage on the Tour de France route. Ventoux appellation, with Mont Ventoux at its core, is one of the major wine regions in eastern Rhône due to its expansive surface. However, the usable land for viticulture is reduced due to the mountain’s expanse.

Despite these limitations, Ventoux boasts 150 active producers cultivating 5623 hectares of land. A considerable portion of the wine produced is red at 54%, with 38% being rose and 8% white. The AOC designation was secured in 1973, signaling a shift from entirely collective production. Private estates emerged following the AOC accreditation and massively expanded during the 1990s. The unique positioning of these vineyards imparts a freshness to the grapes, a trait now cherished, but in the past, posed challenges to ripen the vines.

The majority of vineyards are located to the mountain’s east, primarily on the flatlands and the ascending slopes. Cool air descends from the mountain during the evening, cooling the vineyards and maintaining a broad diurnal range later in the growing period, contributing to the freshness of the wines. The oulaying warm Mediterranean climate, however, ensures generous flavors within the wines.

Frédéric Chaudière of Château Pesquié, the current AOC president, explains, ‘Ventoux gets its name from the mountain, which is almost 2000 meters high. A simple equation would be Ventoux equals the influences of the mountain, which equates to a cooler climate, resulting in fresher, balanced wines.’

Is the appellation characterized by much variation? According to Chaudière, it certainly is. He explains that the main defining factors are the cooler climate, later harvesting, and the presence of natural acidity. However, just as there are a multitude of grape varieties, so too are there a range of different geological features; limestone is prevalent, which instigates a refreshing quality, but there are also areas of sand, various types of clay, and clay-limestone, occasionally featuring blue marl.

Does the prospect of crafting white wines appeal greatly? The answer is a resounding yes. Chaudière mentions a general shift in the Rhône Valley towards producing more whites, but notes that the unique combination of limestone and a cool climate allows for whites that are not only fresh, but also exhibit a range of flavor profiles, from Clairette to Grenache Blanc.

How about reds? Chaudière shares that while Grenache is typically the primary grape variety used, there’s a gradual increase in the use of Cinsault and Mourvèdre. In recent years, they’ve finally started to produce ripe Mourvèdre—a feat that was almost unthinkable in the Ventoux region back in the 1980s. In addition, the increasing utilization of Cinsault adds a certain lightness and balance to the richness of their blends.

Like all AOCs, the Ventoux region is subject to numerous regulations. When it comes to varietal composition, reds must be comprised of at least two of the following varieties: Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre, or Syrah, along with a few supporting varieties. The same rule applies to the production of rosés. As for whites, they’re required to be blends as well.

The major white grapes in warmer climates are Grenache Blanc, which accounts for 33% of white plantings, and Clairette, which makes up 27%. When it comes to reds, Grenache Noir (55%) and Syrah (28%) lead the charge. The other widely planted varieties are Carignan and Cinsault which offer a great range of options for winemakers to experiment with. In the near future, a red grape variety called Caladoc is expected to gain official recognition.

These wineries are also involved in initiatives designed to safeguard biodiversity and decrease their carbon footprint. One notable project is focused on manufacturing unique and identifiable bottles that can be cleaned and reused.

Le Mas des Flauzieres, La Beaume Ventoux Blanc 2022
Made up of 45% Clairette, 45% Roussanne and 10% Viognier. It comes off as highly aromatic and carries a distinct grape-like richness along with subtle hints of honey and peach. The slightly sweet fruit flavour makes it comparable to Muscat. Score: 88/100

Cave La Romaine Blanc Volupté Ventoux Blanc 2022
Made from 90% Grenache blanc and 10% Rolle. A citrusy, appealing pear and peach fruit complexion is evident. The wine shows a good degree of freshness, light spiciness and strong flavour. The finish is marked by a spicy kick. Score: 91/100

Domaine de Fenouillet Hippolyte Ventoux Blanc 2022
Roussanne 50%, Viognier 25%, Rolle 25%. A fruit forward, clean and texturally interesting wine with notes of sweet pear and citrus fruit, accompanied by a touch of melony richness. Finishing with a hint of salinity, this wine exhibits pleasing volume in the mid-palate. Highly recommendable with a score of 93/100.

Domaine Vintur Tradition Ventoux Blanc 2022
Identified as Organic. A blend of Grenache blanc 60%, Roussanne 25%, Clairette 5%, Rolle 5%, Bourboulenc 5%. This wine is exceptionally fresh, bright and lively, with underlying notes of wet stones complementing the bold citrus fruits and ending with a slightly salty finish. Remarkable focus and precision. Score is 93/100.

Plein Pagnier Terres d’Edouard Ventoux Blanc 2022
Clairette 50%, Grenache blanc 20%, Roussanne 15%, Viognier 15%. Exhibiting a bright fruity taste and delicate hints of white peach, lemon, and canteloup melon. Overall, a bright, pure, finely textured wine with a smooth mid-palate and a tangy finish. Awarded a score of 92/100.

Domaine Trélus Ventoux Blanc 2022
Grenache blanc 40%, Bourboulenc 30%, Rolle 30%. Known for its unusual bottle shape. It is sweetly aromatic with a touch of honey, bright citrus, and has a pithy and powerful taste on the palate. Known for high acid, some sourness, and a touch of bitterness. Definitely distinctive and impactful. Score is 90/100.

Chateau Cedrus Cuvée Saint Laurent Ventoux Blanc 2022
Grenache blanc 90%, Viognier 10%. This wine presents an appealingly creamy edge to the sweet pear and peach fruit flavors, further highlighted by some pleasant acidity. A rich, honeyed palate-depth offers a bold, slightly salty finish. Score: 91/100

Domaine Childéric Sous les étoiles Ventoux Blanc 2022
Clairette 70%, Roussanne 30%. This wine showcases a pleasantly weighted texture and a gentle touch of spice to the sweet pear and citrus fruit. Balanced and nuanced with hints of melon, it boasts a compelling character. Score: 93/100

Domaine la Camarette Blanc Armonia 2023
Grenache blanc 85%, Roussanne 15%. Attractively youthful and fruity, this wine presents a defined pear drop edge to the vibrant citrus fruit. Characterized by primary fermentation aromas, this modern and fruity wine is charmingly fresh. Score: 88/100

Domaine des Garances Ventoux Blanc Lescale 2023
Clairette 65%, Grenache blanc 30%, Roussanne 5%. This wine impresses with its bright, focused freshness and lively pear and citrus fruit. Noticeably youthful and taut, it delights with appealing fruit and a slight hint of saltiness. Score: 90/100

Ogier Ventoux Blanc Les Berceaux 2023
Bourboulenc 50%, Clairette 41%, Vermentino 9%. Taut, fruity and primary with nice bright citrus fruit. Mandarin, pear and citrus with a slight spicy edge to the vivid fruit. Really well made. 91/100

Cave de Lumieres Blanc Aubepine 2023
Clairette 40%, Grenache blanc 30%, Roussanne 30%. Lovely vibrant primary fruit here with nice juiciness and brightness. Shows good acidity and a slight pithy edge adding some bitter interest to the finish. 89/100

Vignerons des Dentelles Rhonéa Ventoux Blanc Passe Colline 2023
Clairette 47%, Grenache 28%, Vermentino 25%. Vivid, fruity and primary with pear drops, citrus and a touch of melon. Fruit forward with nice focus and weight showing a juicy quality to the finish. 88/100

Les Vignerons du Mont-Ventoux Ventoux Blanc Secrets des Dames 2023
Grenache blanc 60%, Clairette 20%, Bourboulenc 10%, Roussanne 10%. Zesty, lemony and fruity with nice purity to the citrus and pear fruit, with pear drop fermentation aromas dominating the nose. Nice weight and balance here. 87/100

Domaine de la Verrière Ventoux Blanc 2023
Rolle 60%, Clairette 35%, Roussanne 15%. Offering a fruity and expressive palate and pleasant texture from an open blend of pear and citrus fruit. There are subtle hints of dried herbs, cooked cabbage and a salty finish to this wine. Score: 89/100

TerraVentoux Ventoux Blanc Les 5 Terroirs 2023
Equal parts Clairette and Grenache blanc making 50% each. The concentration is noteworthy in this lively, bright citrus and stone fruit enriched wine. A slight smoky note and a pronounced sense of minerality can be detected. This well defined wine scores 92/100.

Domaine Les Baies Goûts Ventoux Blanc Miss Terre 2023
Roussanne 60%, Grenache blanc 30%, Rolle 10%. This blend carries a nice depth with touches of baked apple and spice as well as rich pear and citrus elements. There’s an interesting texture and breadth to this wine, making it quite rich and full of personality. Score: 90/100.

Le Coulet Rouge Ventoux Blanc 2023
Grenache blanc 40%, Roussanne 30%, Viognier 30%. This fusion is fresh and expressive, demonstrating rich flavors of peach and apricot from the Viognier blend, harmonized well with Roussanne and Grenache Blanc to bring out both richness and freshness along with a generous mid-palate. This wine shows great finesse and scores 93/100.

Philip Gimel Saint Jean du Barroux Ventoux Blanc La Montagne 2021
13% alcohol. Stainless steel. North slope of Mont Ventoux at 350 m, 50 year old vines. Complex and layered with sweet cherry, pear and melon fruit, backed up by some spicy citrus. Has freshness and depth and finishes with some wet stone minerality. 93/100

Domaine de Mas Caron Mariage Ventoux Blanc 2022
12% alcohol. Organic-made. A fusion of Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Viognier, it exhibits a lively and vivid zesty citrus fruit taste, well-set acidity and a twist of bitterness on the wrap-up. Youthful and assertive with refreshing fruity notes. 91/100

Château Pesquié Ventoux Rosé Quintessence 2022
Grenache noir 70%, Cinsault 20%, Clairette 10%. The wine bears a pink/orange hue. It’s a complex, textured gastronomic rosé with a nucleus of sweet strawberry fruit and some fine herbal hints. Effervescent but also, it has depth and exhibits some salty minerality. Utterly fascinating. 93/100

Maison Phetisson Bonnefoy Ventoux Rosé 2023
Grenache noir 80%, Cinsault 15%, Syrah 5%.It is modern, fresh, and highly fruity, showcasing pear drop notes and a nucleus of sweet cherry and berry fruits, also evident is some citrus. Notably bright. 90/100

Sylla Cuvée Parcellaires Ventoux Rosé 2023
Cinsault 38%, Rolle 31%, Grenache noir 20%, Syrah 9%, Clairette 1%, Carignan 1%. A light pink wine that offers a round and fruity flavor with a hint of sweetness in the cherry and pear fruit, ending on a note of fine spices. This wine has volume. 89/100

Domaine de Fondrèche Ventoux Rosé 2023
Cinsault 50%, Syrah 20%, Grenache noir 20%, Mourvèdre 10%. It comes in an attractive package and has a pale pink hue in the glass. The wine has a fresh and zesty taste with citrus fruit drive and some cherry and berry fruits. It has a nice purity and focus. Very fine wine with 92/100 rating.

Cave Saint Marc Ventoux Rosé 2023
Grenache noir 60%, Cinsault 40%. This wine has a pale pink color and a great balance. It comes with understated flavors of citrus, pear, and raspberry, and offers lightness and nice texture. This is a very well-made wine with some gastronomic potential. Rating is at 91/100.

Domaine Marsaleix Ventoux Rosé Alcyon 2023
Cinsault 70%, Syrah 30%. The wine has a fruity and textural feel, with bright cherries and berries showing good weight and freshness. Very appealing with a hint of white pepper on the finish. Textural and fine with a score of 92/100.

Chene Bleu Ventoux Rouge Abelard 2014
Grenache noir 85%, Syrah 15%. Sweetly fruited with a nice core of cherry and plum fruit with some fine herbal hints. It’s warm, smooth and satisfying and has aged well into this mellow maturity. Has some signs of malt and earth from development over the last 9 years. 93/100

Domaine Dambrun Ventoux Rouge 2017
Syrah, Grenache noir, Cinsault, Counoise, Carignan. Warmly aromatic with sweet cherries and berries. Rich, ripe and warm with spicy detail and notes of dried herbs and sweet plums. Has a core of rich, spice-laden sweet fruit. 92/100

Clos de Trias Ventoux Rouge Red Label 2019
Grenache noir 80%, Syrah 11%, Cinsault 5%, Carignan 4%. Oxidative with very sweet strawberry and cherry fruit. Either it’s made in this sweet, jammy, stewed style, or else it has aged badly. Too oxidative for me. 82/100

Via Caritatis Ventoux Rouge Lux Aeterna 2019
Syrah 60%, Grenache noir 35%, Marselan 5%. Very rich and warm (15.5% alcohol) with lots of concentrated berry and cherry fruit. Warm and spice-laden with nice density. Bold and vivid with nice depth. Some saline hints on the finish, which also carries quite a bit of tannin. 91/100

Domaine des Hauts Traversiers Ventoux Rouge La Foudonne 2019
Grenache noir 70%, Syrah 30%. The wine is bold and rich with a hint of dryness to the palate. It consists of a blend of bold berry and black fruits with a good deal of tannic structure to support the lush fruit. Rated at 86/100.

Domaine Les Chancel Lecrit Ventoux Rouge 2019
Formulated from Carignan 40%, Syrah 30%, Grenache noir 30%. The wine is fresh, bright, and linear, marked by a good level of acidity. There’s a touch of cranberry brightness as well as red cherry fruit with some plum. It also includes subtle peppery notes. The wine has an elegance in its taste and is developing nicely. Rated at 94/100.

Philippe Gimel Saint Jean du Barroux La Pierre Noire Ventoux Rouge 2019
With 15% alcohol, the wine is ripe and rich but well balanced. The sweetness of black cherries and blackberries is complemented by a slight saltiness, notes of pepper, Mediterranean herbs, and good tannins. A lovely weight gives this wine its boldness and potential for good aging. Rated at 94/100.

Domaine de Mas Caron Garance Ventoux Rouge 2019
The blend contains 14.5% alcohol. It is marked by a lovely liqueur-like cherry and berry fruits with a core of sweet fruit. The taste is supplemented by dried herbs and a fine pepperiness. It is very textural and fine with a nice weight and purity. Rated at 94/100.

Chateau la Croix des Pins Ventoux Rouge Le Petit Nysse  2020
Grenache noir 90%, Carignan 10%. This wine is sweetly fruited with ripe cherry and plum fruit. The alcohol content is 15.5%, which is well balanced in taste. The flavor profile exhibits sweet cherries and plums with a hint of lushess and Mediterranean herbs. Wine rating: 92/100

Domaine Solence Ventoux Rouge Moitié vide Moitié pleine 2020
The blend consists of Syrah 70% and Marselan 30%. Flavors of olive, spices, peppers, red berries, and strawberries leave a voluminous taste in the mouth. A slight tang of dried herb quality and a touch of greenness are noticeable from the Marselan. Wine rating: 90/100

Mas Oncle Ernest Ventoux Rouge Ici Le Temps S’Arrete 2020
The mix comprises Grenache noir 90% and Syrah 10%. This wine is ripe, rich and dense. The taste of bold sweet blackberry fruit and a slight saltiness on the finish is prominent. It is lush and rich with a core of sweet fruit. Wine rating: 90/100

Domaine de Champ Long Ventoux Rouge Autrefois 2021
Syrah 95% and Grenache noir 5% make up this blend. It is ripe and bold with good tannins complementing the sweet berry fruits. The wine is quite rich and intense with a hint of oak, it seems. Excellently made with a potential for ageing. Wine rating: 92/100

Château Unang Rouge La Source 2021
Grenache noir 40%, Syrah 20%, Mourvèdre 20%, Cinsault 20%. Rich and intense with sweet berry fruits showing some notes of herb and pepper. Has good structure and freshness with nice bright berry fruits on the finish. Slightly salty, too. 93/100

Domaine de Piéblanc Ventoux Rouge La Tuilière 2021
Nicely textured with a core of sweet berry and cherry fruits. The palate is smooth and lush but there’s some nice freshness on the finish. Good balance to this wine which is ripe, but handles the ripeness well. 93/100

Domaine du Tix Rouge L’Affaire Terre 2021
Grenache noir 56%, Syrah 44%. Grenache and Syrah raised in clay. Concentrated and dense with sweet cherries and berries, showing a powerful core of fruit with some nice structure and notes of minerals and spice, and also a stony clay-like edge. Bold and dense with a salty edge to the fruit. Quite lovely. 95/100

Domaine Souleyrol Ventoux Rouge Philia 2021
Syrah 95%, Grenache noir 5%. 15% alcohol. Dense and ripe but still has balance with ginger, pepper and clove hints under the sweet blackberry fruit. Salty on the finish. Combines very ripe fruit with freshness to good effect. 93/100

Domaine du Chat Blanc Ventoux Rouge Cuvée Première 2021
Syrah 50%, Grenache noir 50%. A vivid and dense composition with firm tannins under bold fruit. This wine possesses grip and purpose. Though slightly ashy edge to its rich fruit is a bit offputting. 90/100

Domaine Alloïs Ventoux Rouge Infiniment 2021
Syrah 70%, Grenache noir 30%. Apparent density of fruit in this blend. Firm tannins under sweet strawberry and raspberry, supplemented with some pepper and dried herbs in the mix. Its gastronomic quality is quite remarkable. Slightly peppery on the finish. 93/100

Domaine Les Davids Ventoux Rouge Dernières Terres 2021
Syrah 70%, Carignan 30%. Set at a 600 m altitude. A wine that’s vivid and focused with firm tannic structure, good acidity, and lively cherry and raspberry fruit. Additionally, it is juicy and bright with hints of pepper and olive as well as some cedar and spice. An intensely vivid wine, it oozes personality. 93/100

Domaine Les Patys Ventoux Rouge Arakao Bio 2021
Grenache noir 65%, Syrah 35%. Sweetly fruited with nice peppery detail, some dried herbs, and a core of lush, sweet raspberry and blackberry fruit, finishing slightly salty. Some ashiness on the finish. 92/100

Vindemio Ventoux Rouge Terra 2022
Grenache noir 50%, Cinsault 40%, Mourvèdre 10%. Aroma of pepper, sweet red cherries, and flowers. The palate has a beautiful texture and is layered with sweet red cherry, plum, and nuances of pepper and herbs providing both depth and freshness. Score: 94/100

Domaine de Font Sane Ventoux Rouge Vieilles Vignes 2022
Grenache noir 70%, Syrah 30%. This wine displays pure fruit with great definition, structured beautifully with silken, floral red cherry fruit with some herbs mixed in. Delightfully tasty with good concentration. Score: 95/100

Domaine Caroline Bonnefoy Ventoux Rouge 2022
Grenache noir 42%, Syrah 35%, Carignan 23%. It’s vibrant, pure and extremely well defined featuring sweet red cherry and berry fruit, with good concentration and a focused palate. It is bright and energetic with a certain depth. Score: 93/100

Domaine Brusset Ventoux Rouge Les Boudalles 2022
Grenache noir 60%, Syrah 20%, Carignan 15%, Clairette 5%. The nose is fresh and bright with pleasant floral cherry fruit, and a supple, well balanced palate exhibiting sweet red cherries combined with elegance and a subtle hint of spice. It’s fine, pure, enticing, and quite elegant. Score: 94/100

Domaine Aymard Ventoux Rouge Les Grappes 2022
Cinsault 50%, Grenache noir 50%. So floral and expressive on the nose. This is a lighter-coloured wine with aromatic raspberry and strawberry fruit. In the mouth it’s beautifully textured with a sweetly spiced core of lush cherry and berry fruit. Peppery finish. Quite beautiful. 95/100

Domaine de la Bastidonne Ventoux Rouge Cuvée Martial 2022
Carignan 85%, Marselan 15%. Powerful and rich with bold sweet blackberry and black cherry fruit with some tarry, spicy, ashy complexity, showing lushness but also notes of clove and vanilla. Very bold and impactful. 92/100

Cellier des Princes Ventoux Rouge Réserve 2022
Grenache noir 70%, Syrah 30%. Supple and bright with a core of sweet strawberry and raspberry fruit, with lushness but also a bit of grip on the finish. Nice weight here with textured fruit. 90/100

Domaine des Peyre Ventoux Rouge La Gazette 2022
Syrah 40%, Carignan 30%, Grenache noir 30%. Concentrated and bright with sweet berries and cherries showing some stony detail. Lots of volume here with rich, sweet fruit.Some saltiness on the finish. 91/100

La Courtoise-Clauvallis 1889 Ventoux Rouge 2022
Grenache noir 55%, Syrah 45%. Bold and quite tannic with a good concentration of rich berry fruits. Has notes of olive and pepper with firm tannins on the finish. Impactful. 92/100

Bastide de St Dominique Reserve Ventoux Rouge 2022
Grenache noir 90%, Syrah 10%. Peppery nose is slightly reductive with sweet cherry and plum fruit. The palate is sweetly fruited but with firm tannins and a bit of grip. There’s an elegant core to this wine, and given a year or two in bottle I think it will be brilliantly elegant and expressive. 94/100

Domaine de la Ferme St Martin Ventoux Rouge La Gerine 2022
Cinsault 40%, Grenache 30%, Counoise 20%, Carignan 10%. Lighter in colour. Beautiful freshness and elegance here with some peppery detail and a core of sweet red cherries and wild strawberries, backed by nice acidity. Silky and elegant with real finesse. Has brightness and structure on the finish. 95/100

Domaine le Coustalas Ventoux Rouge Prémices 2022
Syrah 60%, Grenache noir 40%. Bright, fresh and focused with nice tannins supporting fresh raspberry and cherry fruit. Nice definition here, with bright, pure fruit and a crunchy finish. 93/100

Jullien Thomas Ventoux Rouge Sur Le Caillou 2022
Grenache noir 80%, Syrah 10%, Cinsault 10%. This is a lighter-coloured red with a really natural personality. Sweetly fruited and spicy with herbs, red cherries and strawberries. The palate shows a lovely core of sweet fruit with a bit of grip and some nice textural elements. Lively and beautifully weighted. 94/100

Chateau Saint Pons Ventoux Rouge Les Justes 2022
Cinsault 80%, Syrah 20%. Fresh and sweetly fruited with nice weight and texture. Strawberries and raspberries with some lushness, offering ripe, textured sweet fruits that are very appealing. 92/100

Domaine Hélène Bleuzen Ventoux Rouge le Devens 2022
Syrah 95%, Grenache noir 5%. Ripe and rich with bold sweet berry fruits and then notes of clove, cinnamon and cedar from the oak, adding a sweet and savory character to the fruity palate. Bold and ripe, with immediate pleasure for those who like this bold style. 92/100

Societe des Vins de Malijay Ventoux Rouge Purple de Malijay 2022
Grenache noir 60%, Syrah 40%. Appealing with a core of sweet strawberry and cherry fruit, with some herbal hints and a sweet spiciness on the finish. Forward and alluring but still has balance. A ripe style. 91/100

Cave de Bonnieux Ventoux Rouge Terres Rouges 2022
Consists of Grenache noir 60%, Syrah 40%. Described as bold, ripe, and rich with a dense, sweet blackberry, and black cherry fruit punch. It retains a core of bold, ripe fruit yet remains fresh with some nice acidity here, finishing off spicy and intriguing. Scored at 92 out of 100.

Purviti Ventoux Rouge La Montee 2023
Comprises Syrah 85%, GRENACHE 10%, Carignan 5%. Expressed as primary, vivid, and intense with sweet cherry and berry fruits making up the nose. The palate is vivid and fruity, accompanied by a nice crunch to the primary cherry fruit. With lovely freshness and purity, it’s noted to be so bright and expressive. Marked at 94 out of 100.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *