The region of Rhône Côtes du Luberon is situated in the southeastern extreme of the Rhône wine region. A place where world-renownd wine is produced as well as delicious cusine. The wines made in this region are from the varietals Syrah, Grenache Noir, Cinsault, Mourvédre, Gamay Noir, Clairette, Grenache Blanc and Marsanne. Luberon is home to some of the finest Chateaus in France and has become famous through recent films.
The history of winemaking in Luberon can be traced back thousands of years ago, back to the time of the Romans. The vines growing in this region have benefited from two thousand years’ of vine-growing knowledge and experience. Regulations on what can be produced in the region came into effect when the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) Luberon was created in 1988. AOC Luberon is a mountain appellation, where the vines grow at an altitude of between 200 and 450 metres.
The climate benefits from the cool temperatures of the high provençal plateaux and has a rich terroir with Miocene sands, limestone scree and red clay. The mountain range brings about significant changes in temperature, which ensure that the red wines retain their acidity, and that there is a substantial production of white wines made.
Luberon wines must be made from varieties of different wine grapes which are given below:
Syrah this is the most well known variety. This grape produces quality, rich wine.
Grenache This grape variety is full-bodied with a golden brown red hue.
Mourvèdre This grape produces wines that are rich in tannins which have a hard and firm astringency.
Carignan this grape is powerful and slightly astringent.
Cinsault This grape has an aroma of raspberries and almonds.
Viognier This grape produces wines of great quality, finesse and is usually highly perfumed.
Clairette This grape produces wines that are fresh with low acidity.
Vermentino This grape wine has a pale hue. It is usually used because it is well balanced.
Bourboulenc brings out floral and citrus aromas.
Roussanne This grape variety produces fine, straw-coloured, powerful wines with good acidity.
Marsanne This grape is fragrant with aromas of dried apricot and dried peach.
Ugni Blanc This grape gives a pale yellow wine. It is distinctive for its banana aromas.
The reds and rosés would usually have Syrah, Mourvédre, Grenache noir, Carignan and Cinsault and white grape varieties, 10% max for reds and 20% max for rosés. The whites would usually have Grenache blanc, Clairette blanche, Vermentino, Bourboulenc, Roussanne, Marsanne, Ugni blanc and Viognier.
Below are some tasting notes made from my visit to Chateau la Dorgonne in Côtes du Luberon.
Rouge Château la Dorgonne, 2008 A rich textured wine. Made from the Syrah and Grenache noir grapes. This wine has blackberry notes with a distinct vanilla oak smoothness. Nice but not memorable.
Cabernet Sauvignon Château la Dorgonne, 2006 This wine was surprisingly better than the Rouge. Cabernet is usually not part of the Rhône grape varieties, so this was unique. Well-balanced, velvety, olives, showed potential for cellaring with firm tannins.
Rosé Chateâu la Dorgonne, 2009 Delightful, bright, and fresh. Wonderful wine with slight astringency. Pale pink in colour with a tropical fruit nose.