The Southern Rhône valley is a region that oozes history, with walled cities or castles dotting the landscape and families that have been there for generations. The Arnoux family can trace their vineyard-owning lineage back to 1717, when they purchased the first vines of what is now a 40 hectare domaine. Since then they have become one of the best known families in the village of Vacqueyras, and they supplement their own fruit with bought-in grapes from growers that they have long standing relationships with across the region.
The style of the house is to produce wines that are traditionally made, fermented in concrete tanks and aged in old foudres, from old vineyards that are worked in the lutte raisonée approach to farming. The wines of the region enjoyed a spell in the limelight thanks to Robert Parker and his penchant for full bodied reds, but as tastes have shifted back towards a more balanced, old school flavour profile, many of the Rhône’s vignerons have found themselves suffering from the backlash. Not so at Maison Arnoux, where they had always stuck to making vibrant, fresh and above all drinkable wines that reflect their appellations. The Vacqueyras is clearly discernible from the Châteauneuf-du-Pape, despite the fact that vinification is almost identical. The Crozes-Hermitage is made from Syrah rather than the Grenache used in the Southern appellations, but it reflects the same ethos and represents exceptional value for money.
The Arnoux wines are perfect for drinkers that are jaded by the ‘bigger is better’ philosophy that has dominated the Southern Rhône for the past two decades and are looking for wines that remind us of why these wonderful appellations became so renowned in the first place.
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