Chateau Beauchene Cotes du Rhone Premier Terroir 2016
Michel Bernard’s family has lived in Orange since the 17th century. « Mesnagers » or tenant farmers, the Bernards were to profit from the social upheavals of the French Revolution, buying their first vineyard soon after the conflict in 1794. This vineyard is still present nowadays. Since 1971, Michel Bernard runs with his wife Dominique, the vineyard, which they have developed since and in 2004, their eldest daughter joined the board.
Today Chateau Beauchêne has become the hub for the vinification and maturation of all the cuvees from the different vineyards owned by the family.
The whole harvest is bottled at the Chateau. In close collaboration with the research department of Inter-Rhône, Michel Bernard is personally looking after the vines and the vinification. Dominique Vergniaud looks after the financial side of the business and the “Galerie”. Amandine Bernard is in charge of the export sales and marketing from the UK.
Typically thought of as a baby Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the term Côtes du Rhone actually doesn’t merely apply to the flatter outskirts of the major southern Rhône appellations, it also includes the fringes of well-respected northern Rhône appellations. White can be produced under the appellation name, but very little is actually made.
The region offers some of the best values in France and even some first-rate and age-worthy reds. Red varieties include most of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape varieties like Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Counoise, as well as Carignan. White grapes grown include Grenache blanc, Roussanne and Viognier, among others.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.