Called oenotourisme or simply wine tourism, this pleasurable form of tourism combines the discovery of growing areas and their vintages. For more than 2000 years, winegrowers have been producing quality wines: Hermitage, Crozes Hermitage, Vinsobres, Côtes du Rhône Villages of a legendary reputation!
Wine growing has shaped the landscape of the Drôme, especially the Tain-l’Hermitage area, Drôme Provençale and the Drôme Valley and Diois: three key wine-growing areas! So, let’s embark on 3 trips into the wine-growing heartland.
Along the Rhône’s east-bank slopes, above the riverside town of Tain-l’Hermitage, the dramatic vineyards occupy steep slopes superbly exposed to the southern sun. Two top-class Rhône Valley wine-making areas triumph in these parts: Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage (both AOC). The wines derive from the same grape varieties for both, Syrah for the reds, Marsanne and Roussanne for the whites.
The southern Drôme might be compared to an impressionist painting, with its lavender fields, olive orchards, its truffle oaks and vineyards. These are the lands south of the Drôme, land of great wines. Grignan-les-Adhémar are mainly red (accounting for c.85% of production). They’re made by the judicious mixing of five grape varieties: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault. Their luminous red colours vary from vivid ruby to deeper hues. On the nose, you can detect hints of spices in them, such as cinnamon, pepper and vanilla, aromas of red fruits, and touches of liquorice. In the mouth, they’re soft to the taste and long in flavour.
AOC Vinsobres :The Vinsobres vineyards have been awarded AOC status for their red production only. In fact, this is the first vine area in the Drôme Provençale to gain the prestigious status of a Cru des Côtes du Rhône. The wines are mainly made from a mix of Grenache and Syrah. With red-fruit aromas, Vinsobres vintages are powerful and well-structured.
The Diois vineyards, reaching up to 700m in altitude, are said to be the highest in France. Often growing on steep, stony slopes, the plots of vines are small and demand a good deal of work to tend. AOC Clairette de Die is a sparkling wine made from a mix of small white Muscat grapes and white Clairette ones. It’s made according to an ancient local Diois method by which the fermentation occurs naturally in the bottle, without
Unclassifiable: the Brézème : this small unknown appellation deserves however some attention. Located to the south of the Côtes du Rhône Septentrionales, it approaches more geographically wines from the Drôme Valley. Product on the slopes of Livron-sur-Drome region, this is the smallest AOC vineyards on the left bank of the Rhone. The cold climate Syrah is a wine with a strong personality very wild. Seven winemakers and a wine cooperative exploit twenty hectares planted.