For generations, the same families of winegrowers, which regroup about 250 men and women tending their vines, cultivated the hills of this small corner of Provence, in the heart of the Rhône Valley. In 1949, they decided to combine their talents and created a local cooperative, known as “La Vinsobraise”.
Vine has been cultivated here since ancient Rome, regrouping about 2000 hectares and 2000 years of history, enhanced by so much perseverance, knowledge and passion. Between the few last remaining century-old olive trees and rows of lavender, on arid soil bathed in sunshine, they have been producing amazingly concentrated and aromatic Syrah and Grenache grapes. With new technologies and techniques came new vinification processes. And nowadays, each parcel of vines is taken care of according to its individual needs, exposition and micro climate. It may be hard work, but they aim for high quality wines made in the most natural process possible.
As previously said, "Vinsobres" has always been a land of olive trees where the vine has always been present. However, in 1956, a massive frost destroyed many olive groves (14000 to 15000 trees) and therefore farmers preferred to convert the land to agriculture less sensitive to cold.
Logically, and gradually, Terroir characteristics started to be more pronounced in this young wines made from slowly aging vines. Therefore, with the quality of the produced wines increasing, the Appellation started to climb the ladder of recognition and promotion; thus followed a historic day, September 7th, 1957 when "Vinsobres", which was just a part of the generic Côtes du Rhône appellation, justifiably gained the rank of "Appellation Côtes du Rhône Villages Vinsobres".
About 50 years later, in mid-February 2006, the Appellation was once again rewarded for the high quality and consistency of its wines, and the previous name of "Côtes du Rhône Villages Vinsobres" gave way to the higher rank in the hierarchy of the Rhône Appellations, precising a more specific and delineated area, Appellation Vinsobres Controllée (in short, "Vinsobres" was not anymore a sub-appellation of another Appellation, it became an Appellation on its own). The geographical area now represents 1385 hectares and considers only the red wines, starting with the 2004 harvest.
The soil around Vinsobres extends over 7 km slopes, (ranging in altitude from 100m to 450 meters above sea level) around the villages of Mirabelle aux Baronnies and Piégon in the department of Drôme. Soils are mostly marl sandy or marl rocky on hillside and quaternary alluvium in stony terrace. The climate is Mediterranean and vineyards are planted on slope influenced by the near by Alps mountains and protected by the "Mistral" (a strong and cold wind, coming from the north, which accelerates when it passes through the valleys of the Rhône river to reach the Mediterranean sea in the Camargue region).
2006 La Vinsobraise Vinsobres Cotes du Rhone France
Suggested retail price $12-$15
Imported / Distributed by Maximilien Selections thru Fruit of the Vines in NYC
La Vinsobraise 2006 Vinsobres AOC "Cuvee Rustica" (named “Emeraude” in France, which is not mentioned on the American label) is a pleasurable red wine combining richness, balance and depth with earthy and mineral, stony notes. A blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah from 40 year old vines, the grapes were hand harvested and followed traditional fermentation in Stainless steel tanks for about 20 days with longer maceration for maximum extraction of all the needed components. The wine was then aged for 12 months in barrels, then clarified before bottling.
The resulting wine has an intense, dark ruby color. The nose expresses wild dark berries with earthy, floral notes and forest scents intermingled with spices, vanilla and red fruits. The palate is rich and chewy yet not heavy, with good balance and acidity, marked by firm but integrated tannins leading toward the long lasting finish. Côtes du Rhône Villages lovers that are looking for one of their favorites with a bit more guts should be please by this robust yet enjoyable red wine.
PS: (not that it really matters to me, because I can only express my opinions about a wine just after tasting it and I usually don’t pay attention to scores or medals, but I can understand that some people may attach some importance to certain accolades and ratings, so FYI: it received a Gold Medal at the 2007 Paris competition)
LeDom du Vin
Info taken from the winery website at www.cavecooperative-vinsobres.com
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