Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Beaumes-de-Venise is a pretty village in Vaucluse that produced such characterful southern red Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages that in 2005 it was awarded its own AOC for these spicy reds based substantially on Grenache and Syrah grown on over 600 ha/1,500 acres of vineyards. The village has some excellent high-elevation terroirs but for decades it was most famous for its unusually fragrant, sweet, pale gold vin doux naturel, Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, grown on less than 500 ha/1,235 acres.

Like the Muscats of the Languedoc (see frontignan, lunel, mireval, and, particularly, st-jean-de-minervois), this southern Rhône Muscat is made exclusively from the best Muscat variety, muscat blanc à petits grains, and occasionally its darker-berried mutation. Fermentation is arrested by the addition of alcohol to produce a wine of just over 15% but Beaumes-de-Venise can be more delicate and refreshing than most Languedoc Muscats. Apart from the extremely rare and expensive vin de paille, the Muscat is the Rhône’s only sweet, still white (although see rasteau).