The Côtes-du-Rhône is a basic yet extensive French appellation applied to red, rosé and white wines, inclusive of over 170 villages. This swath of land trails the Rhône River (125 miles) down to Saint-Cyr-sur-le-Rhône until it reaches Avignon. Since the AOC’s inception in 1937, it has been used as a catch all appellation for what is mostly generic, entry level wine of all colors. However, for the purpose of this email, not all Côtes-du-Rhône are created equal.
Nestled in the town of Montbrison-sur-Lez, within the Valréas Basin, in what is the Northern portion of the Southern Côtes-du-Rhône, is Domaine Gramenon. Michèle, accompanied by her son Maxime, farm 26 hectares amongst a landscape formed during the Miocene Epoch. The land is a patchwork of pebbles, white marl, sandstone, & limestone sculpted by mother nature over time through glacial melt, famished ancient riverbeds, and erosion. The climate boasts little disease pressure, creating ideal conditions for biodynamic viticulture.
Michèle was left to tend the land and care for her three children when her husband (and winemaker) Philippe was killed in a tragic accident back in 1999. Rather than flounder, she flourished. She pushed the domaine to another level, achieving cult status amongst wine drinkers around the world. Her wines are flush with ripe fruit but are never jammy, always maintaining a freshness and verve. So, although her wine’s unique labels strut the all-encompassing Côtes-du-Rhône AOC, remember that this wine isn’t just any Côtes-du-Rhône, this is Gramenon.