This is the appellation formerly known as Coteaux du Tricastin; since the 2010 vintage, these have been labeled Grignan-Les Adhemar so that people are not reminded of the accidental leak of uranium that occurred at the Tricastin power plant in 2008. It is possible that the appellation's rivers were contaminated, but the wines have not been found to contain high levels of toxicity.
The simplistic but often good and well-valued wine is made in 21 villages across the southern Rhône, including two which give it its new name; these are Garde-Adhemar and the historic, heavily cultural regional hub Grignan. There are about 6,340 acres under vine. With such a quantity of vineyards, the appellation is able to produce bargain wines of good quality, which are similar to midpriced Châteauneuf-du-Pape in style.
Like so many other appellations of the Rhône, Grignan-Les Adhemar has been producing wine since Roman times, or possibly even before. In 1964, the appellation received its VDQS designation, followed by AOC status nine years later; after the power reactor incident, the name change was approved in 2010.
Climate and Viticulture
The soil and climate here are not terribly special or unique; with some quartzite but much less than Châteauneuf-du-Pape's, the appellation's vineyards are mainly composed of ordinary gravel and sand with some limestone deposits.
The five main red Rhône grape varieties are the ones used in the red wines: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsaut, and Carignan. Clairette Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier are used in the obscure but often good whites. All wines are required to be blends.
Here is a duo of good producers in the region.
- Domaine de Grangeneuve: These inexpensive red and rosé wines, often under $10, are straightforward and good.
- Domaine St-Luc: St-Luc's basic red is one of the most ambitious and characterful wines in this region.
Despite the size of the appellation, there are no major subregions.