The Wines of Drôme
What is characteristic of Drôme, from north to south, is its rich viticulture. Drôme is famous all sorts of wines: dry, sparkling (Clairette de Die), AOC, organic and bio-wines (Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Vinsobres) as well as less known local varieties.
Archaeological findings attest: from the 2nd century AD, viticulture shaped the landscape of Drôme. Similarly, today, nearly 18,700 hectares of its territory are occupied by vineyards, producing 900,000 hectoliters of wine annually on an average, including AOC wines (75%) and Vins de Pays. If you ever go on holidays in our Drome campsite, do not forget to taste the local wine !
The Côtes du Rhône
Let’s have a closer look at one of the most famous wine varieties stemming from Drôme, Côtes du Rhône. There are three major vineyards producing the Côtes du Rhône varieties :
Hermitage (AOC – AOP)
This wine is among the lords of the northern Côtes du Rhône, with the Syrah grape variety for red wines and Marsanne and Roussanne grape varieties for white wines. Red wines, with notes of red fruits, spices or truffles, are better served with red meats or game and are great to keep. White wines accompany white meats, fish and cheeses and can also be kept for a very long time.
Crozes-Hermitage (AOC – AOP)
The Hermitage’s “little brother” often has the same characteristics. The white wines evoke the flavors of honey and almonds, while the red varies enchant with the notes of red fruits and spices. These wines should be enjoyed within two to three years.
And then there is this Premier Grand Cru Côtes du Rhône from Drôme Provençale (since February 2006). Their marriage of Grenache and Syrah has achieved an alliance of floral flavors: fresh fruit (cherry, blackcurrant) and processed fruit (brandy), spices (pepper, vanilla), and heavier smoky notes. These wines age beautifully.
The Grenache grape widely spread in the villages where Côte du Rhône is produced gives the wine its distinctive powerful, supple and full-bodied personality. It also comes in blends with other sorts of grapes. Blended with varietal wines (Syrah), it becomes a wine suited for aging. Another blend with the Mourvèdre grape variety, colorful and rich in tannins, produces an excellent bouquet.
Vins du Diois
Another celebrated variety is Clairette et Crémant de Die (AOC – AOP): The title applies to sparkling, blanc de blancs, clairette-based wines. Crémant de Die, made with clairette, can be served as an aperitif or throughout the whole meal. Clairette de Die with dominant muscat notes is drunk as an aperitif or with desserts.
Châtillon en Diois (AOC – AOP): This vineyard produces white wines made from Aligoté and Chardonnay, which develop very fine aromas. The red wines, very easy to drink, are based on Gamay, Pinot Noir and Syrah.
Vins de Pays
When it comes to the so-called Vins du Pays (which do not bear the AOC sign), they are produced throughout Drôme and often come from the same winegrowers who make the region’s most prestigious appellations. The quality is, therefore, exceptional in the wines of des Collines Rhodaniennes, Comté de Grignan, Valdaine or Coteaux des Baronnies.
Where go if you want to discover Drôme’s wines?
Firstly, you might want to look up the national label Vignobles & Découvertes that aims to promote tourism centered on wine tasting. The label marks a selection of wineries, accommodation, restaurants, tourist sites, tourist activities or events. It has been allocated to two territories of the Drôme.
To discover the Côtes du Rhône head to Hermitage en St Joseph. It is located in the center of the northern part of the Côtes du Rhône and highlights three emblematic grape varieties: Syrah (red), Marsanne (white) and Roussane (white). These grape varieties are used to make legendary appellations: Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, St Joseph.
Then, explore the Drôme Provençale region. Located in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône Méridionaux, it is where Cru de Vinsobres, AOP Grignan-les-Adhémar and IGP Côteaux des Baronnies are produced.
Conclude your wine trip with a visit to the coveted Clairette Drôme Vallée destinations.These wines are spread between the mountains of Vercors and the Drôme river on marly or clay-limestone soils. And surely try and attend the Vineyard and Discovery Days which take place every year in October!