Richemer is a co-operative of some 450 growers in Provence, France, with combined holdings of nearly 4,000 acres of vineyards. The full name of the co-operative is Henri de Richemer, named after legendary 19th Century winemaker Henri Richet, who was, apparently, one of the most famous local winemakers of the day.
This is a very unique area from the standpoint that it is not near a large body of water. Most great vineyards are near large lakes, rivers, seas and oceans because of the evenness in climate these waters help maintain. Instead, Richemer is near many lesser bodies of water, like small lakes, streams and lagoons, but the effect is the same.
Evenness in climate is essential to healthy grape growing. Large spikes of chill or heat waves can have detrimental effects on the vines and, when you consider that a vine only produces grapes once a year, it can become very expensive when things go wrong.
For centuries, Viognier was the prized grape of the northern Rhone. It produced elegant, sublimely-scented wines of delicacy and charm. But it fell from favor because it was so difficult to grow and turn into wine.
As its decline accelerated, a group of growers tried to find ways to deal with the grape's difficulty, and they did. Now, thanks to winemakers like those at Richemer, we can enjoy all Viognier's floral and tropical flavors, balanced by its piquant acidity.