Estates / Domaine Estezargues
REGION: Southern Rhone
APPELLATION: AOC Cotes du Rhone
Les Vignerons d'Estezargues is a southern French cooperative based in the village of Villeneuve-les-Avignon in the Gard region of the Rhone Valley. It was founded in 1965 and consists of 10 independent vignerons who farm a total of 420 hectares.
They receive grapes from members and then make wine from them in large batches from many different vineyards blended together with the focus on producing wine in quantity rather than quality. Les Vignerons d’Estézargues takes a fundamentally different approach; starting in 1995 the ten different growers in this co-op began to vinify their wine separately and make single cuvées from their best plots.
On the heels of the single cuvée project, Les Vignerons d’Estézargues began to practice natural winemaking – possibly one of the only co-ops in the world to do so. They use no cultured yeasts, no filtering, no fining and no enzymes during vinification or aging and only add a small amount of SO2 at bottling.
Compared to Northern Rhone, Southern Rhone is significantly larger. Ninety-five percent of all wines in Rhone come from Southern Rhone, with an average vintage totalling up to 380 million bottles per year.
The hot and dry climate of Southern Rhone – in comparison to the northern portion – hosts fifteen grape varieties under Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Droughts, limited irrigation, and the various terroirs and microclimes in the region produce a diverse range of wines. Due to wine fraud in the 20th century, viniculturists were forced to create and impose the AOC system. Thus, said AOC originated in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
In general, Southern Rhone wines are more alcoholic, yet lighter and fruitier than wines from Northern Rhone. Orchard fruit flavors with Provencal herb notes and spicy accents are prevalent in the rose, sparkling, and red and white wines made in the area.
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