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Domaine de Coyeux Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise 2003

Other Dessert from Rhone, France
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        Winemaker Notes

        The powerful and expressive nose shows aromas of white flowers, peach and honey. On the palate the wine is round and sweet, but not cloying, with a lively acidity. The total effect is fresh and elegant with good length and lots of charm.

        The grapes at Coyeux are planted in a 120 acre vineyard on the steep rocky slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail at an elevation of 260 m. The vineyard has the very thin topsoil characteristic of the region. The vines have an average age of 30 years, and there are two types of Muscat planted at Coyeux – grains blancs and grains noirs. The latter, being darker, have more aroma and flavor. In the words of the owner, the dark berries give body and the lighter ones give elegance.

        Critical Acclaim

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        Domaine de Coyeux

        Domaine de Coyeux

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        Domaine de Coyeux, Rhone, France
        In the southern Rhône, about 15 miles northeast of Avignon, lies the village of Beaumes-de-Venise, founded by the Romans. While this image of an ancient town may conjure up antiquity, the region is also home to a truly innovative winemaker, Yves Nativelle, owner of the 309-acre estate Domaine de Coyeux. Nativelle and his family left their comfortable life in Paris in 1976, to purchase the rugged property perched at the base of the dramatic Dentelles de Montmirail mountains. Nativelle carefully added plots to an existing 18-acre vineyard, and after extensive clearing and replanting, he produced his first Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise in 1982.

        A long and narrow valley producing flavorful red, white, and pink wines, the Rhône is bisected by the river of the same name and split into two distinct sub-regions—north and south. While a handful of grape varieties span the entire length of the valley, there are significant differences between the two zones in climate and geography as well as the style and quantity of wines produced. The Northern Rhône, with its continental climate and steep hillside vineyards, is responsible for a mere 5% or less of the greater region’s total output. The Southern Rhône has a much more Mediterranean climate, the aggressive, chilly Mistral wind, and plentiful fragrant wild herbs known collectively as ‘garrigue.’

        In the Northern Rhône, the only permitted red variety is Syrah. In the appellations of St.-Joseph, Hermitage, Cornas, and Côte-Rôtie (where up to 20% Viognier may be co-fermented), it produces savory, peppery wines with telltale notes of olive, bacon fat, and smoke. Oily, perfumed whites are made from Viognier in Condrieu and Château-Grillet, while elsewhere only Marsanne and Roussanne are used, with the former providing body and texture and the latter lending nervy acidity. The wines of the Southern Rhône are typically blends, with the reds often based on Grenache and balanced by Syrah, Mourvèdre, and an assortment of other varieties. All three northern white varieties are used here, as well as Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourbelenc, and more. The best known sub-regions of the Southern Rhône are the reliable, wallet-friendly Côtes du Rhône and the esteemed Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Others include Gigondas, Vacqueyras, and rosé-only appellation Tavel.

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        Apart from the classics, we find many regional gems of different styles.

        Late harvest wines are probably the easiest to understand. Grapes are picked so late that the sugars build up and residual sugar remains after the fermentation process. Ice wine, a style founded in Germany and there referred to as eiswein, is an extreme late harvest wine, produced from grapes frozen on the vine, and pressed while still frozen, resulting in a higher concentration of sugar. It is becoming a specialty of Canada as well, where it takes on the English name of ice wine.

        Vin Santo, literally “holy wine,” is a Tuscan sweet wine made from drying the local white grapes Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia in the winery and not pressing until somewhere between November and March.

        Rutherglen is an historic wine region in northeast Victoria, Australia, famous for its fortified Topaque and Muscat with complex tawny characteristics.

        SWS131890_2003 Item# 91599