A small appellation located in the southern Rhône Valley, bordering Gigondas to the north, Côtes du Ventoux to the east, and just west of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Vacquerays was officially a Côtes du Rhône-Village until 1990, when like Gigondas it was promoted to full AC status. Since that time the level of quality and innovation found in Vacquerays has increased dramatically, and today the wines are a pleasant alternative to the more expensive Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the more rustic Gigondas.
Grenache accounts for a minimum of 50% of the red and rosé wines produced here, with Syrah usually the other predominant grape, though Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Carignan in the mix as well. The clay, sand and rocky soil types provide for graceful and finessed wines that retain some of the heat and spice of the Rhône but little of the overt game and rusticity commonly found in the region. The recent promotion to AC status seems to be a spur for modernization, as many wines are made either in stainless steel or with only subtle oak aging.
Though white wines have been produced here for quite some time, they have recently improved dramatically. The increase in the use of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier over the more traditional but less expressive Clairette, Bourboulenc and Grenache Blanc has paid dividends, and expect more from these varietals in white Vacquerays in the future.