01 The Rhone Valley's Viticultural History

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  1. Name 4 chroniclers of the Classical Period (1000BC - 300 AD)
    • Virgil: 70 BC-19 BC, Poet
    • Strabo: 64 BC-23 AD, Geography
    • Columella: 4 AD-70 AD, De Re Rustica (12 vols about agriculture)
    • Pliny the Elder: 23 AD-79 AD, Naturalis Historia (all knowledge)
  2. Name the native tribe living in the northern Rhone
    • Allobroges, of Celtic origin
    • Developed Allobrogica grape variety (Syrah: Modueuse Blanche x Dureza)
    • Skillful wine growers by 1C AD
    • Grafted vines
    • Defeated by Roman legions in 121 BC
  3. What did the Romans do?
    • Romans arrived as Greek power waned
    • Founded Avignon, Orange, Valence, Vienne, Lyon
    • Expanded viticulture during their 800 year rule
    • Excavated Cote-Rotie and Saint-Joseph (Right Bank)
    • Tamed the hill of Hermitage (Left Bank) - but historians say it was cultivated in 600 BC
  4. Name 2 Roman remains in the Rhone Valley
    • The Arenes de Nimes (collosium)
    • The Pont du Gard (aquaduct)
  5. What is vinum picatum?
    • Wine from the terraced vineyards of Vienne, north of Cote Rotie
    • Shipped in clay amphorae coated with resin
    • Exported to Rome in 1C AD (another such wine was Tain, Tegna)
  6. Who were the Phocaeans?
    • Greeks from Asia Minor who settled at Massalia around 600 BC
    • Planted vines along coast; may have brought Muscat
    • Traded wine, bronze, ceramics, and textiles for beer and mead, iron, amber and furs
  7. What is the Legend of Viogner?
    • Originated on Croatian island of Vis
    • Roman Emperor Probus brought "Vugava" vine to Condrieu in 281 AD where it was renamed to Viognier
    • DNA analysis shows it is a cousin of Nebbiolo
  8. Were the first Rhone vineyards in the north or south?
  9. Who was Pope Clement V and what did he do?
    • French Bishop (not Italian Cardinal) made Pope in 1305
    • Moved Papal seat from Rome to Avignon
  10. How did Chateauneuf-du-Pape begin?
    • Seven French popes govered the Catholic Church from 1309-1376
    • Pope Jean XXII (2 of 7) built summer residence known as "new castle of the pope" which became the name of the village
    • The wines were called "Vins du Pape" but later renamed to CDP
  11. Why was Pont d'Avignon bridge built over the Rhone?
    • Shepard (later Saint) Benezet heard God tell him to
    • Pope told the boy to move a huge bolder to river bank and commissioned bridge when he did so
  12. What was "Vins de Medecine"?
    Wines from Southern Rhone used to add pigment, tannin, and riper fruit flavors to Northern Rhone wines
  13. What does "Hermitager" (verb) mean?
    • Adding wine from Hermitage to augment another region's wine
    • In 1920s, there are records of "Lafite Hermitage" sold in England
  14. What does "La Cote du Rhone" refer to?
    • In 1600s, an administrative district in the Vicariate of Uzes (Gard department)
    • Growers began calling their wines "Cote du Rhone"
    • 1650: regulation guarantee wine origin and quality
    • 1737: King Louis XV edicted branding barrels with "CDR" (but neighboring vineyards still sold their wine as CDR)
  15. What does "Les Cotes du Rhone" refer to?
    • In the 1800s, the singular became plural when it became a regional moniker instead of an administrative district
    • Stretched from Vienne to Avignon on both banks of the Rhone
    • Today, Cotes du Rhone (CDR) is the regional AOC of the region called Les Cotes du Rhone
    • CDR AOC produces 68% Les Cotes du Rhone and 50% Rhone Valley
  16. Define CDR Septentrionales and CDR Meridionales
    Les Cotes du Rhone wines from the North and South respectively
  17. Name the 4 AOCs within Les Cotes du Rhone
    • CDR (68% CDR)
    • CDR Villages (5% CDR)
    • CDR Villages-Named Villages (9% CDR)
    • 17 Cru (17% CDR)
    • These wines can be declassified as CDR
  18. Name the Rhone Valley AOCs outside of Les Cotes du Rhone
    • Northern Rhone: Dios
    • Southern Rhone: Cotes du Vivarais, Gignan Les Adhemar, Ventoux, Luberon, Costieres de Nimes, Clairette de Bellegarde, Duche d'Uzes
    • These wines cannot be declassified as CDR
  19. How much of CDR production is red?
  20. How many villages produce CDR?
    171 of 300 in Rhone Valley
  21. Name the 3 major regions to distinguish
    • Rhone Valley
    • Les Cotes du Rhone
    • CDR AOC
  22. When did Phylloxera devaste the Rhone?
    • Early 1870s
    • The Rhone was the first area devastated by the louse
    • Phylloxera arrived in France when a ship disembarked at the port of Roquemaure, near CDP
  23. How did Phylloxera change the vineyards?
    • Mourvedre (was 33% of Southern Rhone plantings) was very difficult to graft so declined to only 3% today
    • Grenache and Syrah were easy to graft so grew to 65% and 18% respectively
  24. Who created the first wine AOC in France?
    • In 1924, Baron Pierre Le Roy de Boiseaumarie delineated CDP zone of product and set production standards.
    • In 1935, he cofounded INAO (Institut National de l'Origine et de la Qualite)
    • 1936-05-15: INAO first wine AOCs including CDP, Arbois, Cassis
    • 1937-11-19: CDR AOCs
    • 1967: CDR Villages, CDR Villages-Named Villages
  25. List Rhone Valley 2009 stats
    • France's 2nd largest vineyards (182,249 acres/73,753 ha) behind Bordeaux (290,245 acres/117,458 ha)
    • Vineyards: 2.6 x Bourgogne, 2 x Languedoc, 1.4 x Loire Valley
    • 31 million cases
    • 6000 people grew grapes
    • Robert Parker has awarded more 100-point ratings to wines from Rhone than any other region!
  26. Describe the modern ups and downs of Rhone wine
    • 2H 19C: Due to oidium, phylloxera, down mildew, growers planted fruit trees instead
    • 1H 20C: Due to WWI, Great Depression, WWII, the young pursued employment in industry
    • 1956: Due to 3 weeks at 5°F which killed many olive and fruit trees, growers replanted with vines
    • 1970s: Renewed internation interest
    • 1980s: Northern vineyards reclaimed, wine university established 1978 at Suze-la-Rousse (Drome)
    • 1987: Robert Parker publishes Wines of the Rhone Valley; special cuvees developed
    • 1990s: Economy continued expansion and journalist beat the drum for Rhone

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01 The Rhone Valley's Viticultural History
2017-09-04 21:10:08

Wine Scholar Guild Rhone Master Level Program
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