For the sporty drinkers out there, the appellation Ventoux will always be associated with the mountain that cyclists love to conquer. The appellation is quite large and covers 51 communes on the slopes of Mount Ventoux and the Vaucluse Mountains in the southern Rhône region. There are almost 6,000 hectares of vines planted on limestone rock with red tertiary and alluvial soils. The climate is Mediterranean and there is a strong influence from the Mistral wind.
Like most of the other Rhône appellations, the wines of Ventoux developed during the period of the Avignon Papacy in the 14th and 15th centuries. Today, there are 1400 growers in the region and around 140 wineries, although this is increasing with tourism rising in the area. Listed as a biosphere reserve in 1990 by Unesco, respect for the environment and a considerable amount of organic winegrowing are key characteristics of the wines. The wines are warm and soft with fragrant berry characteristics for the reds and scents of blossom and garrigue (the local soil which has a warm, fragrant aroma) for the white wines. Like other Rhône regions, Ventoux wines can be made from a variety of different grapes but primarily from Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Carignan for the reds and rosés and Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette and Marsanne for the whites. Quality is definitely on the rise here as new, ambitious winemakers are arriving in the region and replacing the rather mediocre wines made in the past by the local cooperatives.