Chateau Routas Coquelicot Viognier 2001
The 642-acre property includes 135 acres of strategically planted vineyard parcels that create a mosaic throughout the rocky, heavily-wooded terrain in this unspoiled, high-elevation sector of Provence. Some vineyard sites have soils that are red as crushed brick, while others consist of crumbly grey limestone mixed with pockets of iron-rich, red clay, and stones that reflect the hot summer sun.
At 1,300 feet above sea level, the elevation is among the appellation's highest, providing cool nights that slow the ripening of the grapes, contributing fresh notes, good color and complexity, plus dictating harvest dates that are up to a month later than other estates. The estate also encompasses dense woods, olive trees, and oak trees hiding black truffles. Bright red poppies grow alongside brilliant yellow sunflowers, and the surrounding forests hide a substantial number of wild boars?– which are unfortunately a little too fond of the Routas grapes come harvest time.
Nearly synonymous with fine wine and all things epicurean, France has a culture of wine production and consumption that is deeply rooted in tradition. Many of the world’s most beloved grape varieties originated here, as did the concept of “terroir”—soil type, elevation, slope and mesoclimate combine to produce resulting wines that convey a sense of place. Accordingly, most French wine is labeled by geographical location, rather than grape variety. So a general understaning of which grapes correspond to which regions can be helpful in navigating all of the types of French wine. Some of the greatest wine regions in the world are here, including Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône and Champagne, but each part of the country has its own specialties and strengths.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the king and queen of Burgundy, producing elegant red and white wines with great acidity, the finest examples of which can age for decades. The same two grapes, along with Pinot Meunier, are used to make Champagne.
Of comparable renown is Bordeaux, focused on bold, structured red blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc including sometimes a small amount of Petit Verdot or Malbec. The primary white varieties of Bordeaux are Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.
Most of these grape varieties are planted throughout the country and beyond, extending their influence into other parts of Europe and New World appellations.
Full-figured and charmingly floral, Viognier is one of the most important white grapes of the northern Rhône where it is used both to produce single varietal wines and as an important blending grape. Look for great New World examples from California, Oregon, Washington and cooler parts of Australia.