The new appellation of Côtes du Rhône Villages Nyons was officially granted by the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO) on 15th October 2020, bringing the total number of Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages with a geographical name to 22.
The growing area is spread over four communes in the Southern Rhône: Nyons, Mirabel-aux-Baronnies, Piégon and Venterol.
The new appellation has been 22 years in the making since the local growers’ association made their original application in 1998. President of the appellation Pierre-Michel More says ‘the dossier was presented several times but on each occasion, there was a little detail that we needed to work on.’
The main issue was an over-reliance on Grenache, so growers increased plantings of Syrah in response. The other principal grape variety grown here is Mourvèdre, with very little Cinsault or Carignan. The appellation covers still, dry, red wines only.
The new appellation covers an area of approximately 300ha in the northeast part of the Southern Rhône. Most vineyards are on hillsides, rising to 300m altitude. The soils are predominantly clay-limestone with limestone gravels resulting from hillside erosion. Proximity to the Prealps brings a vibrancy to the wines, as do cool night temperatures, which, says More, ‘bring a freshness to our wines,’ a key part of the appellation’s typicity.
Local winemaker Chantal Giniès from organic Domaine Giniès in Piégon praised the time invested in the project by the previous generation, saying ‘the quality of our wine has finally been recognised, after all the efforts made to raise standards.’
Winemakers will be permitted to use the appellation from the 2020 vintage, and the first wines will be released onto the market in spring/summer 2021.
The region is also well known for other products; Nyons was the first AOC in Europe granted for olives in 1994, for products made from the Tanche variety.
Previous to Nyons, the most recent named village granted by the INAO was Côtes du Rhône Villages Saint-Andéol in 2018.