Crafting classic, traditional wines from the best wine growing regions in the Rhône Valley
Since 1895, the Lavau Family has been involved in winemaking at a major level. The Lavau Family moved from St. Émilion in Bordeaux to the Rhône Valley more than a half century ago and is now run by Frederic and Benoit Lavau, sons of the original owners.
The company originally operated as a negotiant (buyer and seller of wines) and served some 350 individual growers and entities. Maison Lavau vinified grapes from all of the Rhône Valley's top AOC's and made outstanding wines that were eventually (in 2009) sold under their own name and label. The association with so large a group of growers allowed Maison Lavau to pick and choose the terroir that best suited their needs and that also produced the finest grapes in the region.
Since its inception, the wines of Maison Lavau have scored extremely high in international competitions and have garnered high marks from a number of wine industry periodicals.
A Short History about French Wines
Historically, the French have long been the major consumers of their own wines. But, for the last four decades, wine consumption in France has dropped drastically, down more than 40 percent according to the latest figures available. This existing condition has caused French winemakers to rethink their marketing efforts to appeal to broader markets, especially those in the United States and a number of Asian countries.
France’s top tier wines (Bordeaux and Burgundy and a few Rhône Valley wines (see Region Spotlight) have not felt the pressure but have advanced in price to be today affordable to only wealthy wine aficionados. Needless to say, the price/value relationship of these top wines is way out of balance.
This phenomenon had proven advantageous to a number of wine producing regions in France, and in particular the huge wine production area that comprises the Southern Rhône Valley. Led by its bell weather product, Châteauneuf du Pape, the region’s wine cadre has firmly established itself on the international marketplace.
Several factors have influenced this reestablishment of this most important French wine producing region.
First and most important, the Rhône Valley has been able to maintain an excellent price/value correlation. Perceived quality in the bottle by consumers has vaulted Rhône wines to positions of favor on wine shelves and wine lists. It is generally held that one gets his/hers money’s worth when enjoying a Rhône wine.
Also, the international wine press has adopted the Rhône Valley with its myriad of grape varietals and its wonderful communes and their historical significance. It is easy to write about well-made wines that have a story to tell and don’t break the bank when being purchased.
Finally, almost all the production of the Rhône Valley is red (almost 95%) and is much easier to sell than its white and rosé cousins. Worldwide, it is also generally held that red wine is better for one’s health and provides more than double the minerals, nutrients, carotenoids and carbohydrates the body utilizes on a daily basis. It also provides only half the sugars that are found in white wines.
It is also a fact that much Asian cuisine actually overpowers white wines while red wines tend to hold their own with the heat-laden cuisines of China and other Asian nations. The emerging Chinese market has enthusiastically embraced French red wines while showing only sparing interest in French whites.
Whatever the reason, French wines are still considered the most prominent in the wine world. Strides made by emerging wine countries (United States, Australia, Chile and Argentina) have tightened the gap between France and its competitors. The latter have been aided in most part by favorable pricing practices and excellent marketing techniques.
But, France is France, and always will be. It is with great pleasure that we offer these fine French wines for your enjoyment.
Wine Regions of the Rhône Valley
A key wine-producing region in southeastern France, the Rhône Valley follows the north-south course of the Rhône River for almost 150 miles from Lyon to the Rhône Delta, near the Mediterranean coast. The length of the Valley lends to the wide variety of soil types and mesoclimates, and thus, the wide range of wine varietals planted as well.
The Valley is naturally divided into two parts, with the northern Rhône home to dark, powerful, spicy reds made with the Syrah grape (and a few whites from Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne) and the warmer southern Rhône home to its signature ripe blends with Grenache as the dominant varietal.
The Flag of France
The French national flag is called 'The Tricolor,' which in French is 'Drapeau Tricolore,' and consists of three vertical stripes. The tricolor was created in July 1789 during the French Revolution from a rosette by Marquis de Lafayette. The combination of red and blue (colors of Paris) and the royal color of white (symbolizing the return of the King) were chosen, and thus became the cockade for the revolution.
The tricolor was established as France's national flag in 1794. In the early 1800's, Napoleon replaced the tricolor with the royal white standard with fleur-de-lis, but in 1830, Louis- Philippe restored the original tricolor as the national flag. Since then, no changes have been made to its colors or its pattern.