Firmly lodged in third place behind Burgundy and Bordeaux in the tier of quality red wine regions in France, The Rhone Valley is often underestimated. It has the soul and terroir focus of Burgundy with the Grand Estates and ability to produce volumes like Bordeaux. It just doesn’t do either with as much passion and cohesion.
It is thought the first vines were planted in 600BC. The region now produces 4 million hl of wine per year. Most of it is made by large negociants and co-operatives.
The Rhone has two distinct parts: North and South. (read more here)
Dominated by fine boned, mineral, spicy and savoury Syrah. It has a continental climate with the major influence being the mistral wind which can make or break a vintage depending on when and how it blows. Cote Rotie is the most famous appellation in the north with Hermitage, Saint-Joseph, Cornas and Crozes-Hermitage making excellent wines too. Each appellation has laws which allow the Syrah to be blended (or not) with white varieties Viognier, Marsanne and/or Roussanne.
The best appellations cling to the sides of the hills facing the Rhone River. Many vineyards are terraced and look perilous to work.
A mélange of whites, rosé and reds. Grenache is the dominant partner here but almost all the wines are blends. The climate is more Mediterranean and the terroirs are far more diverse than the North. Flatter for the most part and the vineyards being in the valleys mean the mistral has a much less marked influence. Chateauneuf du Pape is the most famous appellation allowing up to 15 varieties into the blend. Chateauneuf is close to the town of Avignon famously the residence of the Pope for a time. Gigondas and Lirac are other great red appellations. Tavel is lovely for Rosé and Muscat de Beaumes de Venise makes some lovely sweet wines. The vast majority of the Cotes du Rhone wines are made in the south.
A six pack of carefully selected wines to show you some of the unique and celebrated styles that the Rhone offers you. Notes are included.