Swiftly and deservedly becoming one of the most renowned producers in the exciting region of Ventoux, Chateau Unang has been run by Scottish couple James and Joanna King since 2003. A great deal of renovating and replanting since, has turned this once neglected estate into an absolute gem. The domaine is located in a magical part of the Ventoux, sitting above the Nesque river bed and overlooking the Vaucluse plateau, where their 15ha of vines benefit from the sheltered location, altitude of between 200-320 metres above sea level, and the practically unique Sables d’Unang soils – a rare form of sand over limestone that is found nowhere else bar here and certain pockets of Gigondas. The white grapes (Roussanne, Clairette and Grenache Blanc) are all grown in the valley at the bottom of the hill, where they benefit from the cooler early morning air, staying shaded longer in the heat of summer giving the wines a delicious fresh minerality and a lively acidity for which they have become well-known. The red grapes are spread over the rest of the hill between 250 and 320 metres above sea level, divided by thick swathes of oak forest and groves of olives and cherry trees with an aspect south east. The Grenache sits at the very top and forms the basis for their top cuvée La Croix. The Syrah, which has to be protected from hungry wild boar in the last few weeks before picking, forms the basis for la Source. Since 2013 the domaine has been certified organic. The wines are made with care, attention, respect for the environment and with a gentle hand. These are thrilling, great value wines you will keep coming back to.
Côtes du Rhône is a huge appellation spanning over 40,000 ha of the Rhône valley, ranging from pockets of vineyard skirting the Northern Rhône appellations to the flat, arid plateaux of the Southern Rhône. Most of the production comes from the South from the Grenache grape, however the other Châteauneuf varieties are permitted too. This vast swathe of vine-growing land is as big as AC Bordeaux and makes huge quantities of low-priced wine consumed in brasseries up and down France. Alot of the lower priced wines are made in a similar method to Beaujolais, carbonic or semi-carbonic maceration, which gives light wines of soft tannins and aromatic, but often confected fruit. The quality of these inexpensive wines is usually bland at best, however there are a number of great wine estates from the more solubrious parts of the Rhône, particularly Châteauneuf-du-Pape, who make very good examples at a fraction of the price of their top wines. The vast majority of the production is Red, followed by rosé, very little white wine is produced. All but the wines from the greatest wine-producers are for drinking within 1-3 years after the vintage.