Vin de Pays du Comte de Grignan is the Vin de Pays de Zone title for red, white and rose wines from an area stretching for roughly 50 miles (80km) along the Rhone river, to the north and south of Montelimar. This Vin de Pays (VDP) title covers a zone of the Rhone Valley wine region which does not otherwise have any AOC titles.
Unsurprisingly, given the area from which it comes, a large proportion of VDP du Comte de Grignan wine is made from the key southern Rhone grape varieties Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and Cinsaut. The less-obvious additions to this repertoire of red varieties include Pinot Noir (borrowed from Burgundy) and Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot (from Bordeaux). The traditional, albeit less-glamorous varieties Gamay and Carignan also play their part.
White VDP du Comte de Grignan wines (which have a much smaller representation than the reds) are dominated by the globally popular Chardonnay, in league with the key Rhone varieties Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. A sign that this area is in the deep south of France is the use of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Muscat grapes – the mainstay of many whites of the southern Rhone and Languedoc-Roussillon.
The VDP du Comte de Grignan landscape is characterized by the banks of the Rhone river, with its alluvial plains and the sub-valleys formed by its tributaries. At the very eastern edge are the low foothills of the Alps, with their patchwork of sandstone, limestone and occasionally exposed granite. The continental climate here means warm, dry summers and cold winters, influenced by strong winds such as the Mistral, which bowls down the Rhone at up to 55mph (90km/h).
Because if falls within the catchment areas of both the Vin de Pays des Portes de Mediterranee and the Vin de Pays des Comtes Rhodaniens, any VDP du Comte de Grignan wine may be sold under these alternative regional VDP titles.
In 2009, the Vin de Pays (VDP) title in force since the 1970s was supplemented with Indication Geographique Protegee (IGP) – its EU equivalent. French wine authorities have actively promoted the use of IGP, which acts as a legal statement of quality and origin throughout the eurozone. Wine producers retain the right to use either title.