Domaine de Bérane

Côtes du Ventoux
Bertrand Ferary

The vineyards of Côtes du Ventoux are part of the southern Rhone and are for the most part spread out around the town of Carpentras just north of Provence. They are set against the backdrop of Mont Ventoux which dramatically rises 1912 meters above the valley floor. This imposing mountain range, the tallest in interior France, has been classified by UNESCO as a “Reserve de Biosphere”. Mont Ventoux and the Rhone River have combined to create a variety of soil types in the Cotes du Ventoux appellation and in addition to grapes, there is a rich array of crops that grows on these southern Rhône fields.

Domaine de Berane’s vineyard is situated in the village of Mormoiron at an elevation of 350 meters and with south-east exposure. The vineyard is composed of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. The domaine works according to the principles of organic farming.


The cuvee “Agapes” takes it name from the biblical word connoting a meal taken after work and it is indeed a lovely wine to have after a day’s work. The wine is a blend of 70% Grenache from 50 year old vines, 25% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre. The wine is fermented in cement tanks using indigenous yeasts. The Grenache and Mourvedre are matured in tank while the Syrah is matured partly in tank and partly in barrel.

Les Blaques

The cuvee “Les Blaques” is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache. It is fermented and then matured for six months in cement tanks. The wine combines rich and dense fruit with fine tannins giving the wine body and structure.


Our 2011 Rosés are here- reconnecting us to summer long days and gentle weather time to share with friends...

Château Jouclary, Cabardès Rosé

Château Jouclary is a blend of 40% Merlot, 30% Syrah and 30% Grenache and is produced by combining two methods of vinification, or more precisely, extraction. Known as the "saignée" method, the Grenache grapes begin a traditional vinification but with skin maceration lasting only about 12 hours after which the juice is drained to continue its fermentation without the solids. The Merlot and Syrah are produced using "pressurage," like white wines where the juice is pressed from the grapes before fermentation begins. The wine has a pale salmon color and is enticingly aromatic with scents of red currant, citrus and exotic fruit. The flavors of fresh fruit are supported by a good structure and acidity that allows the wine to remain buoyant and fresh throughout the palate.

Château Bellevue La Forêt, Fronton Rosé

Château Bellevue La Forêt is a blend of 60% Negrette, 20% Gamay, 10% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Franc. The different varieties are picked separately by parcel in the early morning to maximize freshness. They are gently pressed upon reception and then vinified separately at low temperatures. Following an "elevage sur lies" an assemblage is made. The local negrette grape gives the wine both its luminous strawberry color and lively floral aromas. The supple mouth feel supports flavors ranging from orchard fruit to notes of herbs and spices.

Domaine des Terrisses, Gaillac Rosé

Domaine des Terrisses is a blend of 60% Syrah, 20% Braucol and 20% Duras. 2011 was a particularly hot and dry year in Gaillac and Alain Cazottes picked the Syrah for the Rosé very early and instead of using the saignée method as usual; he gently pressed the grapes before fermenting them at low temperatures. For the Braucol and Duras he used the saignée method with maceration lasting about 12 hours. The different grape varieties were fermented separately at low temperatures allowed to settle naturally for 5 months and racked several times before blending and bottling. The 2011 vintage is particularly light in color, "provençalesque," and combines stone fruit with more savory flavors. Despite its delicate nature, the wine has a balance and structure that will allow it to improve for a year.

Domaine de Berane, Côtes du Ventoux Rosé

Domaine de Berane is a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre. It is produced by combining two methods of vinification, or more precisely, extraction with 70% by "pressurage" and 30% by "saignée". The grapes were harvested late in September with excellent maturity and balance. The wine is pale with a slight orange tinge. The scents tend toward stone fruits with citric overtones. The wine is delicate on the palate with strong mineral and saline notes both providing a long refreshing finish.

Domaine Brana, Irouleguy Rosé

The Brana "Harri Gorri" Rosé is produced from 70% Tannat and 30% Cabernet Franc. The cuvee name "Harri Gorri" is basque for red stones and refers to the red sandstone found locally in the Basque Pyrénées Atlantiques. The wine is produced using the "saignée" method with maceration sufficient to give the wine a deep color and good body. The scents are typically Basque with floral and earthy vying for first out of the glass. The earthy aromas are mirrored on the palate lifted by stone fruit, lots of spice and lingering citrus notes on the finish.

Region: Rhône

The Rhône and Loire rivers, if taken together, bring to a geographic focus nearly the whole of France. The two rivers never meet but they pass relatively near each other while flowing in different directions; the Loire flowing north some seven miles west of St. Etienne and the Rhône flowing south about eighteen miles east of St. Etienne, near the town of Chavanay, one of the northern most villages in the Saint Joseph appellation...

I like to imagine that long before cities were built and humans walked the earth, these two immense and powerful aqua-highways had a relationship, something akin to a gravitational pull (that’s another way of saying romance). Even though they could not see each other, I imagine they could feel each other’s presence and in the primordial silence, the movement of each river might have given rise to a song which would have echoed between the Massif Central and the Alps.

The Rhône river begins in the Swiss Alps and flows 810 kilometers until it finally washes into the Mediterranean Sea. The vineyard area referred to generally as the Côtes du Rhône extends from Lyon in the north to Avignon in the south. The northern Rhône, known as the “vignoble septentrional,” is linked to the historic importance of Lyon whose commercial and gastronomic vitality have encouraged the northern Rhône vineyards to flourish. The northern vineyards lie on a narrow band of steep granite hills that represent the eastern extreme of the Massif Central. They run along the western edge of the river for a forty mile stretch between Vienne and Valence. The exceptions are the recently replanted vineyards in Vienne and the Hermitage vineyards, all of which lie on the eastern side. The climates of the northern and southern regions are notably different, with the north being cooler and wetter (a gift from the Swiss Alps that comes with the river). This is a major contributing factor to the extraordinary qualities of the northern Rhône reds which are cool climate Syrahs. The southern Rhône is quite separate from the northern region. It fans out around Avignon some hundred kilometers to the south of Valence. The southern Rhone known as the “vignoble méridional,” benefits from a Mediterranean influence which brings warmer and dryer air. It is here that one encounters lavender, olive trees and Grenache. The geology and topology of the southern Rhône are extremely variable with rivers and glaciers leaving certain zones with an abundance of surface stones. It is the Grenache grape that above all offers a thread of continuity to the red wines of the region.

The A.O.C. scheme of the Rhône Valley resembles that of Beaujolais and by French A.O.C. standards, it is rather simply organized, but of course not without its exceptions and contradictions. The appellations between Lyon and Avignon (with the exception of the Diois vineyards along the Drôme river in the Pre-Alps) are collectively known as Cotes du Rhône and include 171 communes spread throughout six départemants. The most basic appellation in the hierarchy covers wines that are labeled as Côtes du Rhône but technically referred to as Côtes du Rhône Régionales. Virtually all of these vineyards are located in the southern four départemants: Drôme, Ardèche, Vaucluse and Gard. Also located in these same four départemants, is the next level in the hierarchy, which is called Côtes du Rhône Villages. It includes 95 communes with a select 18 that are authorized to add their specific village name on the label. At the top of the order are the 13 Crus of Côtes du Rhône which do use their village of origin names on the label but not the word “Cru”. Eight of the “crus” lie in the northern Rhone: Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Château Grillet, Saint Joseph, Cornas Saint Péray, Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage. Five lie in the southern part: Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Tavel and Lirac. There are additionally two villages whose red wines figure in the Côtes du Rhône Villages appellation, that have been given a separate A.O.C. for sweet wines known as vin doux natural. These are the villages of Rasteau and Beaumes de Venise. To finish out the Rhône Valley viticole, there are four independent appellations in the southern Rhône: Côtes du Vivarais, Coteaux du Tricastin, Côtes du Ventoux and Côtes du Luberon. All of this is to show that simple is not necessarily synonymous with simplistic.

When I started in the wine business in 1979, the wines of the Rhone Valley, with the exception of Hermitage and Châteauneuf du Pape, were little known or appreciated in the United States. At the time, a tasting of Saint Joseph wines seemed very exotic. This is in stark contrast to the enormous popularity the Rhône Valley’s wines enjoyed today. I don’t imagine that the ancient Romans would be surprised.