Beaumes de Venice, an attractive village in Vaucluse, next to
Vacqueyras and Gigondas, was upgraded to AOC status in 2005 for
its good-quality, medium-bodied, fleshy, peppery reds. It is a region, however,
that remains better known for its sweet, fortified Muscats which have their own
AOC: Muscat de Beaumes de Venise.
The reds are soft but have a good structure, and thus need a couple of years
to mature. They are made from at least 50% Grenache and 25% Syrah with the rest from
various other varieties, up to 5% of which can be white. White and rosé wines
are also made here but are classified as Côtes du Rhône.
Apart from the sparkling wines of Clairette de Die this is the only
part of the Rhône which
uses Muscat, and yet
it provides the most elegant, sweet fortified Muscats in the world. Little
sweet Muscat was made before 1945 when Muscat de Beaumes de Venise was
classified an AOC for its vin doux naturel, but by the 1970s and 1980s
its popularity in northern Europe was probably greater than Sauternes or sweet
Despite its minimum 15% alcohol, low acidity and intense sweetness
Muscat de Beaumes de Venise is surprisingly delicate and refreshing with a
lovely floral fragrance and sweet, pale-gold, grapey fruit. Made
exclusively from the best variety, Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, it
is made by adding pure grape spirit to the must when it has reached 5% alcohol.
It should be drunk as young as possible, lightly chilled, either as an
aperitif, with or after dessert (where it makes a very good match for
Recommended Producer: Domaine de