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Beaumes de Venise


Wine By Region Right Europe Right France Right Rhône Right Southern Rhône Right Beaumes de Venise


Formerly part of Côtes du Rhône-Villages, this region became its own separate appellation in 2004. The appellation is most known for its fortified white Muscat wines; these styles are labeled "Muscat de Beaumes de Venise AOC." The basic red wines are also good, and these conventional, Grenache-based styles are gaining popularity in the United States.

The appellation comprises about 2,500 acres of planted vineyards. About 200,000 cases of wine are produced each year, which are roughly half unfortified reds and half fortified whites. Most of the wines exported are red wines.

History

Beaumes de Venise has as long a history as any fortified wine appellation; its wines were documented by Pliny the Elder in the first century A.D. In 1943 an appellation was created for the Muscat, with only fortified wines allowed. Dry reds were produced here, but were labeled under Côtes du Rhône and then Côtes du Rhône-Villages. In 2004 the reds were finally allowed to use the Beaumes label.

Climate and Viticulture

An unusual slope (visible in the main picture on our Rhône page) is where the Muscats are grown, which explains their unique appeal. Some of the unfortified wines are grown in more traditional areas.

Grape Varieties

At the center of this appellation is the Muscat grape. The grapy, powerful, unique fortified white wines should be drunk young for their idiosyncratic flavors. These are among the most untraditional wines of the Rhône. In contrast, the reds are produced from a more conventional combination of Grenache and Syrah, and taste like typical red Rhône blends.

Major Producers

The following list of five good producers contains examples of both the reds and the whites made in this appellation. These producers' wines are not only good, but also have reasonable levels of availability outside France.

Subregions

This region encompasses two appellations: Beaumes de Venise AOC, for unfortified reds, and Muscat de Beaumes de Venise AOC, which is for fortified white wines only.