Fans of southern Rhone wines who have seen the price of their Chateauneuf du Pape creep upwards over the last few years have been seeking out alternatives and Vacqueyras is a definite option, the region is cooler and vineyards sit higher on the landscape then Chateauneuf, producing wines that are robust, strong and rich. The wines are more approachable when young but can still age for up to 20 years.
The region was awarded “Cru” status in 1990.
The appellation gets its name from the latin “valléa quadreria” (“valley of rocks”) and is one of Frances smallest appellation in terms of wine production.
Grenache is king in the southern Rhone and Vacqueyras wine must have at least 50% Grenache followed by 20% of Syrah and Mourverde and 10% of other Rhone grapes.
Reds make up 97% of all wines made in the region.
Yields are set as low as 36 hectolitres per hectare, one of the lowest in France.
The Mistral wind plays a huge role in the wine style of the region, the dry winds clear the skies of cloud to allow bright sunshine, the breeze also keeps the vineyards cool in the stifling hot summer and any dampness that forms on the grape clusters is quickly dried by the winds, not allowing fungi to take hold.
The river Ouveze flows between the rolling hills and cools the vineyards at night and ultimately the grapes, adding freshness to the wines.
The unique geography and climate of the region produce reds with a deep colour, with a ruby hue in younger wines and a deeper red as they age. The taste is reminiscent of black cherry, blackcurrant and and a hint of fig, as the wines age they take on overtones of spice, leather and a whiff of smoke.