Vinsobres is in the Drôme department of France, that’s number 26 for ‘department spotters’. The department is in the southeastern France and takes its name from the Drôme River. I first visited Vinsobres in 2002 with my wife when we had a Ford Sierra and an old CI Eccles Amethyst caravan. This time we have the luxury of a motorhome, which makes life much easier.
For anybody who is seriously into their french wines, Vinsobres is superb. The climate here is of Mediterranean type, with hot, dry summers bringing excellent ripening potential to the Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes which make up the majority of the appellation’s rich, full-bodied red wines. Mourvedre requires a particularly hot, dry climate to ripen completely, and it flourishes in the intense, long-lasting sunshine which bakes the slopes around Vinsobres in the summer. Mourvedre is rarely grown north of Montelimar, the town which marks the theoretical boundary between the cooler northern Rhone and the hotter, drier southern Rhone. Syrah, on the other hand, is at its best in the coolest of Vinsobres’ mesoclimates, as it is more susceptible to heat damage. Vinsobres’ vineyards are protected from the cold Mistral wind and other alpine influences by the presence of the foothills to the east.
There are 2 campsites in Vinsobres:
Camping Le Sagitterre
2 km from the village of Vinsobres and 6 km from Nyons. This is an all singing all dancing campsite with a swimming pool complex and a lake with a sandy beach.
Le Pont de Mirabel
Tel : 04 75 27 00 00
However we are a bit more cheapskate and as this isn’t our final destination we are quite happy with the municpale campsite which is right in the Vinsobre village. This is a peaceful more ‘mature’ campsite and a whole lot cheaper!
Tel : 04 75 27 61 65 – 04 75 27 61 88
Both campsites have an amazing view of Mont Ventoux, which is actually located 20km north-east of Carpentras, Vaucluse. On the north-side, the mountain borders the Drôme département. It is the largest mountain in the region and has gained fame through its use in the Tour de France cycling race.
As the name might suggest, it can get windy at the summit, especially with the mistral. The road over the mountain is often closed due to high winds. Especially the “col de tempêtes” (“storm pass”) just before the summit is known for its strong winds.
Mont Ventoux, although geologically part of the Alps, is often considered to be separate from them, due to the lack of mountains of a similar height nearby. Its isolated position overlooking the valley of the Rhône ensures that it dominates the entire region and can be seen from many miles away on a clear day.
If you are passing through this area on your motorhome holiday, don’t rush through it, take your time and do enjoy a glass of Vinsobres wine.