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12 Oct

Wine of the Popes

By: Justine Teal Categories: Wines

Vignerons de l’Enclave dates back more than 700 years, to 1316 with Pope John XXII. He first tasted a Valréas wine and quickly concluded that the wine from the south of France was miraculous. Pope John XXI began to purchase the villages in the Rhône Valley area, beginning with the city of Valréas, then the neighboring villages of Richerenches, Visan and Grillon, creating the Enclave des Papes or ‘Enclave of the Popes.’

When Pope John XXII was appointed by the Cardinals, he was rather sickly, thus the Cardinals hoped his reign as Pope would be short. However, Pope John XXII surprised them when he lived for another 18 years until he was 89 years old, claiming the wines of the Valréas region were what kept him going. The Papal control persisted until the French Revolution in 1791 when the people of France voted for its annexation, however the papacy did not recognise this formally until 1814.

After the Revolution and the confiscation of land from churches, the French departments were created and the Enclave des Papes expanded its borders to include Vaucluse and became what is now the department of Drôme.

For more than 50 years Vignerons de l’Enclave have been farming in the northernmost vineyards of the southern Côtes du Rhône with a micro terroir which has historically differentiated their production from the rest of the region. The Vignerons de l’Enclave signature wines offer a wide range of wines from the Rhône Valley, specifically from native grape species of the area including Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah, keeping up to date with the expectations of today’s consumers.

The Vineyards

The vineyards of Vignerons de l’Enclave are the northernmost vineyards of the southern Côtes du Rhône with an above-average altitude. The soils in these vineyards are predominantly stoney clay-limestone and benefit from a Provençal climate with cool nights, plenty of sun, and strong northwesterly Mistral winds.

The Wines

La Resistance Organic Côtes du Rhône Rosé

95 pts – Kim Brebach (BWU20): It’s a stunning example of the Rhone style, perfumed and flora on the nose, generous on the palate offering the usual fruits on a silky platter, with sprinkles of fresh herbs. Seductive and mouthfilling but not simple; there’s nothing overdone here – perfect pitch.

2018 La Resistance Organic Côtes du Rhône Rouge

91 pts – Angus Hughson (Wine Pilot): Here is a deliciously smashable French red that has something for everyone. There is fleshy mulberry and red cherry fruits, with a distinctive savoury feel, that are also lifted by a dusting of violets and spice. It’s quite bold for a Côtes du Rhône but never loses its French style.


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