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Vallée du Rhone: Contemporary wines

Rhone Valley: Contemporary wines
 
   It has become customary to divide this extensive wine growing region into two 
completely different parts – the North, where vines grow on a thin strip of land 
alongside the Rhône, before widening out towards the South. This guide book is 
no exception. We will review the two parts separately, starting with the North.
 
NORTHERN CÔTES DU RHÔNE: unquestionably a fully-fledged member of the 
world’s elite circle of premium quality wines, with a string of household names 
(Côte Rôtie, Hermitage, Condrieu…). Here, vines cling to the Rhône Valley’s 
steepest inclines, making it sometimes impossible to introduce mechanisation. 
In fact, as far back as winegrowers can remember, some sites have never seen a 
tractor. The only justification for enduring such adverse growing conditions is the 
quality of the wines (coaxed out of the outstanding ‘terroir’ and remarkable 
microclimate). Their reputation stems not only from the ‘terroir’, though, but also 
from quality grape varieties and the expertise of the wine growers. The wines are 
well-structured, robust, aromatic and complex. Both the reds and the whites 
(probably with the exception of the Viogniers) are suitable for laying down. Low 
yields and boutique vineyards, where harvesting can often be completed in a 
day, enable wine growers in the northern Côtes du Rhône to provide an 
extremely comprehensive range of wines in each appellation. 
 
SOUTHERN CÔTES DU RHÔNE: this region stretches from the southern part of the Drôme department, over half of Vaucluse, the southern tip of Ardèche and along the right bank of Gard. The name ‘Côte du Rhône’ dates back to the 15th century when it referred to one of two areas around Uzès under the control of a 
magistrate which was branded onto barrels dispatched from the port of 
Roquemaure. Unlike its more northerly neighbour, single-crop farming is 
characteristic of the southern wine region. Many villages are entirely devoted to 
wine growing. ‘Côtes du Rhône’ wine is by far the most prevalent and the 
‘villages’ (16 villages are allowed to append their name to the appellation) stand 
at the pinnacle of the local growths. 
   Producing vast quantities of wine does not preclude quality, neither at regional 
AC or Côtes du Rhône Villages level, and of course, even less so for the five local 
(or growth) appellations - Lirac, Tavel, Vacqueyras, Gigondas and 
Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Blending (see under varietals) is the norm for these 
appellations. The rosés (interestingly, Tavel only produces this colour of wine) are 
made by the ‘bleeding’ process or the direct-to-press method. Yield restrictions 
(35 hl/ha in Vaucluse and 42 to 48 hl/ha in Gard for the growths, 42 hl/ha for 
Côtes du Rhône Villages and 52 hl/ha for regional Côtes du Rhône) are one of the 
reasons why respectable cellars and restaurants, in France and abroad, stock 
southern Côtes du Rhône.
 
THE ‘SATELLITE’ WINE REGIONS: Five appellation areas are now joined to Côtes 
du Rhône, even though they are slightly further away from the river:
Die: Three appellations including two still wines (Clairette de Die, 88% of output) 
and Crémant de Die (12%), and one still wine appellation (Châtillon-en-Diois).
Grignan les Adhémar: Along the left bank of the Rhône in the Drôme department.
Côtes du Ventoux: Further south, stretching over 7,500 hectares amongst the 
foothills of Mont Ventoux, Provence’s highest peak.
Côtes du Luberon: The second-largest area in Vaucluse, this proud ‘terroir’ growth
is set within an area of outstanding natural beauty (the Luberon national park) 
north of the river Durance. 
Costières de Nîmes: This is the most southerly Rhône valley region, so much so 
that it borders on Languedoc (Gard department). 
 
VARIETALS: Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah and Cinsault take centre stage for 
the reds. The whites use primarily Clairette, Bourboulenc, Viognier, 
Roussanne and Marsanne. In Die, Clairette Pointue and Small Berry Muscat.
Thirteen grape varieties are permitted in Châteauneuf-du-Pape: Clairette, 
Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Picpoul, Cinsault, Counoise, Muscardin, Terret noir, 
Vaccarese, Picardan, Roussanne and Bourboulenc. In actual fact, though, few 
wines nowadays take full advantage of this huge potential. 
 
WINE STYLES: the northern red growths are vigorous, and in some cases (see 
Châteauneuf-du-Pape) warm. They require several years’ cellaring (at least three 
to five years and more for the likes of Côte Rôtie).
The Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône-villages are immediately more 
approachable, except when certain styles of winemaking or ageing are used.
The whites are also heady, fragrant, sunny-clime wines with a framework 
supported by their acidity. As they age (Châteauneuf-du-Pape again), some scale 
the heights for complexity and finesse. 
 
 
Review of latest vintages:
 
2010: Low quantities yet very high quality wines. The reds are dense, aromatic 
and complex. The white and rosés are pure and show wonderfully refined 
expression. The reds need to mature but should start to produce some excellent 
efforts this year. Superlative wines in the north, definitely designed for cellaring.
 
2011: an extraordinarily inconsistent year, particularly for red wines which 
account for the bulk of production. Harvesting began in late August, around 10 
days early compared with 2010. For Syrah and Mourvèdre, the vintage is 
generally of an excellent standard with wonderful varietal expression and full, 
complex wines. Grenache shows clear differences depending on the area, where 
rainfall and harvest dates have a significant impact. The 2011s show abundant 
fruit and are similar in style to the 09s with aromas of cherry and prunes, a hint 
of over-ripeness and a warm edge.
 
2012: This region experienced incessant rain combined with quite mild 
temperatures, causing the vines to grow exuberantly. This led to late ripening, 
which was compensated by uniform development. The reds are dense, with a 
tight tannic structure. The whites harvested early have retained a good level of 
acidity. A reasonable vintage.
 
THE Rhône Valley appellations
 
A.C. Beaumes de Venise
 
Overview: previously subsumed into the Côtes du Rhône Villages appellation, 
Beaumes de Venise was recently promoted to growth status. The area stretches 
across the south-eastern face of the Dentelles de Montmiral range (at elevations 
ranging from 100 to 600m), in four villages in the Vaucluse department. The soil 
is derived from Oxfordian marl from the Upper Cretaceous series and the Triassic,
unique to the Côtes du Rhône. The climate is particularly hot because the 
landform acts as a buffer against the Mistral wind.
 
Wine styles: Beaumes de Venise produces powerful, mellow red wines which are 
generous and aromatic. They make suitable partners for meat in a sauce and 
game.
 
 
A.C. Château Grillet
 
Overview: Château Grillet is one of France’s smallest appellations, covering just 
four hectares belonging to a single owner. The area forms an enclave within the 
Condrieu appellation along the right bank of the Rhône. Only white wines are 
made here from Viognier. The soils are formed of stony sand on a granite 
bedrock. The vines grow on sheer, south-facing terraces sheltered from the wind.
 
Wine styles: as the grapes are harvested earlier than for Condrieu, the wines tend
to be more austere, less fragrant and heady. Blessed with an attractive pale 
golden hue and a fresh, delicate bouquet, they are subtle, well-structured wines 
with a long ageing capacity (10 to 20 years). Principal aromas are lychee and camomile. They can be paired with grilled fish, seafood, shellfish, goats cheese 
and mi-cuit foie gras
 
.
A.C. Châteauneuf-du-Pape
 
Overview: this area encompasses five towns and villages set in the southern part 
of the Rhône Valley - Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Bédarrides, Courthézon, Orange and 
Sorgues. The soil is extremely stony, covered with pebbles interspersed with red 
clay and sand. This type of soil retains heat during the day which it releases by 
night. Châteauneuf-du-Pape boasts the driest climate in the region with some 
2,800 hours of sunshine annually.
   The wines are vinted traditionally at controlled temperatures. The reds are vatted
for around three weeks to ensure maximum extraction. The permitted range of 
grape varieties is extensive, although many are not widely planted. For the reds: 
Grenache noir, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Carignan, Terret noir, Counoise, 
Muscardin, Vaccarese, Camarese, Calitor and Picpoul noir. For the whites: 
Clairette, Bourboulenc, Roussanne, Grenache blanc, Picpoul blanc, Picardan, 
Marsanne, Viognier, Pascal blanc, Ugni blanc and Maccabeo.
 
Wine styles: the appellation produces both red and white wines. The red wines 
with their intense colour are redolent of red fruit, leather, aniseed, spices and the 
occasional balsamic note. They are round, unctuous, full and supple with good 
length on the palate. The white wines sport a translucid pale yellow colour. They 
are fresh and aromatic (floral notes reminiscent of vine flowers, honeysuckle and 
daffodils) with good staying power on the palate. The reds pair with game (leg of 
venison, jugged hare, roast woodpigeon) or cheese. The whites are equally 
delicious as appetisers or with grilled fish doused with olive oil, shellfish and 
rosemary-flavoured goats cheese. 
 
 
A.C. Châtillon-en-Diois
 
Overview: a diminutive appellation area (60 hectares) located in the vicinity of 
Die, in the far eastern portion of the northern Rhône Valley. Although they are 
grown on the same soil types as Clairette de Die (stony hillsides, calcareous clay),
wines from Châtillon-en-Diois come from the cooler zones of the Drôme Valley. 
Wine styles: the appellation produces light, fruity red wines from Gamay, Pinot 
noir and Syrah which reward early drinking or pleasant, vigorous still white wines 
from Chardonnay and Aligoté. The reds can be served with barbecued meats 
cooked on a wood fire and the whites with grilled fish.
 
 
A.C. Clairette de Die
 
Overview: this area covers 32 towns and villages dotted along the Drôme Valley. 
The soils are calcareous clay on stony hillsides. Once the grapes have been 
pressed, the juice is filtered and chilled and the partially fermented must is then bottled. Alcoholic fermentation continues in the bottle, resulting in a naturally 
sparkling wine. Sediment is removed at least six months after bottling. 
 
Wine styles: Clairette de Die is a light, fruity sparkling wine with a brilliant golden 
hue. The wines develop aromas of green apple, white fruit and floral notes of 
rose. They can be served either as appetisers or with desserts, frozen sweets, 
chocolate or foie gras.
 
 
A.C. Condrieu
 
Overview: the Condrieu area, a producer of white wines, is situated 11 kilometres 
south of Vienne, on the right bank of the Rhône, just below the red wine 
appellation area Côte Rôtie. Seven villages feature within the area and the vines 
are planted on sheer granite slopes enriched with patches of loess. The steep 
inclines make mechanical harvesting impossible and the crop is therefore 
hand-picked. Low yields warrant the expensive price tag on these wines which 
are intended to be drunk in their youth (between two and four years old). 
 
Wine styles: the appellation only produces white wines, made from the only 
permitted grape variety, Viognier. Pale gold in colour, they are heady, yet supple, 
rich and unctuous with a touch of acidity. Principal aromas are acacia honey, 
violet, musk, apricot and peach. They can be served with freshwater fish, mi-cuit 
foie gras, goats cheese, king prawns and duck breast with peaches.
 
 
A.C. Cornas
 
Overview: this appellation area is set in the northern half of the Rhône Valley, 
opposite the town of Valence. The only permitted varietal is Syrah which forms 
the basis of the area’s red wines. Similarly, only one village is entitled to the 
appellation, Cornas in Ardeche. The vines grow on terraces supported by dry 
stone walls and enjoy maximum sunshine which promotes good ripening. The 
neighbouring hills also shield the vines from the wind, resulting in significantly 
higher temperatures than in Hermitage, just 11 kilometres away. The soil is 
granite with patches of calcareous clay. At the base of the hills, they are sandy 
with decomposed granite whilst in the northern part of the appellation, there 
tends to be more limestone. The only varietal used is Syrah.
 
Wine styles: Cornas is a powerful, robust wine in its early years. Its tannins only 
begin to mellow several years down the line though even then, the wines remain 
robust with a dark hue. Strangely, it is unlike any of its northern Rhône Valley 
neighbours and is often described as rustic or wild. The younger wines display 
aromas of red fruit and pepper, leading into aromas of truffle, amber, hazelnut 
and liquorice after five to ten years’ ageing. They pair with wild boar in a sauce, 
venison cutlets marinated in Cornas wine, roast venison or jugged hare.
 
 
A.C. Costières de Nîmes
 
Overview: an appellation situated between Arles and Nîmes, north of the 
Camargue. This is the most easterly of the Languedoc appellations although it is 
officially joined to the Rhône Valley. It covers 24 towns and villages in the Gard 
department, on ancient alluvial soils formed of pebbles, gravel and sand 
bordering one of the Rhône’s former river beds. 
   The climate is Mediterranean and the varietal range is traditional. Carignan (40% 
maximum), Grenache (25% minimum), Syrah and Mourvedre (20% minimum) 
and Cinsault (40% maximum) for the reds. Clairette, Grenache, Bourboulenc, 
Ugni blanc (40% maximum), with a 50% maximum supporting range of 
Marsanne, Roussanne, Maccabeo and Rolle for the whites.
 
Wine styles: the red wines are expressive and well-balanced. They are powerful 
and robust when sourced in the southern part of the appellation (facing the sea). 
In the northern zone, they are more supple, fruity wines for quaffing. Their 
aromas belong to the red fruit, wild berry and small venison range. Try with 
grilled meat, Sète-style rabbit or small game. The rosés, which are made using 
the bleeding process, develop aromas of exotic fruit (mango) and citrus fruit. 
They are lively wines which pair remarkably well with shellfish fritters, squid in a 
sweet and sour sauce, cooked cold pork meats. Shellfish and fish are a perfect 
match for the white wines, which are mainly drawn from Grenache blanc and 
Clairette and are fresh and aromatic. 
 
 
A.C. Côte Rôtie
 
Overview: an appellation set in the far northern part of the Rhône Valley. The 
vines grow on terraces supported by dry stone walls facing south-east, which 
provides them with maximum sunshine. Three villages are entitled to the 
appellation: Ampuis, Saint-Cyr-sur-le-Rhône and Tupin-et-Semons. 
The Côte Rôtie area is divided into two parts: Côte Blonde and Côte Brune. Côte 
Blonde is home to steep granite terraces covered with a layer of siliceous 
limestone, whilst in Côte Brune the soil is iron oxide-rich clay. The wines are 
vinted traditionally with relatively long vatting periods (two to three weeks) and 
aged for 18 to 36 months in oak casks which are often new. 
 
Wine styles: these red wines are single varietals made from Syrah, occasionally 
augmented with a tiny proportion of Viognier. Their deep red colour with purple 
tints takes on orangy-yellow tints when they reach 10 to 15 years of age. The 
wines are extremely well-structured, tannic and unctuous with a characteristic 
intense bouquet. Wines from Côte Blonde tend not to keep for as long as those 
from Côte Brune. They display aromas of violet, spices (pepper, vanilla), red fruit 
(raspberry), black fruit and undergrowth. They pair with water fowl, 
subtly-flavoured meats (roasted young wild boar), truffles and asparagus.
 
 
A.C. Coteaux de Die
 
Overview: this is a young appellation set in the Die area, east of the northern 
Rhône Valley. The soils are primarily calcareous clay and shale marl. The grapes 
(Clairette) are sent straight to the press, vinted traditionally and then aged for six
to eight months. 
 
Wine styles: Coteaux de Die are still white wines sporting a golden hue with 
greenish tints. Usually dry and fresh, they develop fragrances of flowers and 
green apple. Recommended pairings include fish, shellfish and goats cheese.
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône
 
Overview: this is the Rhône Valley’s largest appellation (the second-largest in 
France, after Bordeaux). It covers 163 towns and villages spread over six 
departments, from Vienne to Avignon – Loire, Rhône, Ardèche, Gard, Drôme and 
Vaucluse, with most of the area under vine in the last three. The soils are granite 
in the north and alluvium on limestone in the south. Many areas are also home to
gravel from the Alps mountain range. 
The climate is Mediterranean with the characteristic Mistral wind. Seasonal 
rainfall, hot temperatures and outstanding sunshine are all distinctive features of 
the region. The wines are vinted traditionally at controlled temperatures. Most of 
the wines are aged in tanks though occasionally oak casks are used. The 
varietal range is extremely broad. Grenache noir, Syrah, Mourvedre, 
Cinsault, Carignan, Terret noir, Counoise, Muscardin, Vaccarese, Camarese, 
Calitor and Picpoul noir for the reds. Clairette, Bourboulenc, 
Roussanne, Grenache blanc, Picpoul blanc, Picardan, Marsanne, Viognier, Pascal 
blanc, Ugni blanc and Maccabeo for the whites.
 
Wine styles: 95% of the wines grown in this appellation area are red and can be 
divided into two main styles. Some are rich, generous wines with mellow tannins 
that are intended for cellaring. Others are not unlike ‘primeur’ wines and are 
light, fruity and vigorous. Predominant aromas are small red and black fruit (red 
currant, blackcurrant, bilberry, blackberry), spicy and animal notes. Try with 
Provençal beef stew, leg of mutton with garlic, chicken sauteed with onions… The
white and rosé wines, produced on a much smaller scale, are well-balanced and 
round. The rosés with their fruity bouquet of pear drop and quince paste, pair 
with barbecues and cooked cold pork meats. The whites exude floral fragrances 
(linden) or white peach and honey, depending on the varietal. Notes of kiwi and 
grapefruit may also be present. They are well suited to grilled fish and shellfish. 
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône Villages
 
Overview: set within the Côtes du Rhône area, this appellation embraces 95 
towns and villages spread over the departments of Drôme, Vaucluse, Gard and Ardèche. This takes it either side of the Rhône, from the south of Montélimar to 
the south of Avignon. Soil types vary from granite in the north, alluvium on a 
limestone bedrock in the south, both of which often come together in the shape 
of gravely terraces. The climate is Mediterranean, hot and dry, with the 
characteristic Mistral wind and maximum sunshine. The term Côtes du Rhône 
Villages can feature as such on the label or it can be extended with the name of 
one of 17 villages – Cairanne, Chusclan, Laudun, Puymeras, Roaix, Rochegude, 
Rousset, Sablet, Saint-Maurice, Saint-Gervais, Saint-Pantaléon, Séguret, 
Signargues, Valréas and Visan, as well as two site-specific areas: Plan de Dieu 
and Massif d’Uchaux.
 
Wine styles: AC Côtes du Rhône Villages produces sturdy, heady wines which do 
not go overboard on tannic astringency and have a silky finish. Principal aromas 
are fig, stone fruits and liquorice. They pair with cured mountain hams, wild boar 
stew, bull casserole and cheeses.
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne
 
Overview: Cairanne is situated in the Vaucluse department, in the southern 
Rhône Valley. Vines grow here on red soil, sandstone, clay terraces and sandy 
molasse. The appellation produces red, rosé and white wines.
 
Wine styles: the red wines are well-structured, unctuous and spicy with an 
elegant finish. They display aromas of small black fruit, leather and spices. This 
type of wine does in fact pair well with spices, Asian or exotic cuisine. The rosé 
wines are lively and well-balanced. The white wines are round and elegant with 
floral and vegetal tones (grilled fish). 
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône Villages Chusclan
 
Overview: an area spread over five villages in Gard. The vines occupy gravely 
hills and terraces and occasional sandy patches. The appellation produces red 
and rosé wines.
 
Wine styles: the reds are well-balanced, easy drinking wines with average 
strength. Try with stew or roast beef. The fleshy, unctuous rosés make good 
partners for subtly-flavoured cold cuts or barbecued meats.
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône Villages Laudun
 
Overview: the vines are planted on stony or gravely slopes, terraces formed of 
pebbles, covering three villages in Gard. Laudun produces red, rosé and white 
wines.
 
Wine styles: the red wines with their crimson hue are powerful and tannic. They 
exude aromas of stone fruit and spices. They can be served with meat, game or 
cheese. The delicate, supple rosé wines display enticing floral aromas. The fat, 
fruity white wines are buttressed by moorland notes. They pair with shellfish, 
grilled fish and poultry.
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône Villages Massif d’Uchaux
 
Overview: AC Massif d’Uchaux is spread over five villages in Vaucluse. Soil type is
mainly siliceous and limestone sandstone at elevations of between 100 and 
280m.
 
Wine styles: tightly-woven red wines displaying attractive body and fat are grown
here. The standard of quality is excellent and the wines are very consistent.
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu
 
Overview: the area embraces four villages and occupies an extensive alluvial 
terrace topped with Quaternary limestone stones. Beneath the stones is either 
blue clay (Pliocene) or sandstone beds which draw up all-important water during 
the summer months. The name ‘Plan de Dieu’ is derived from the many local 
religious foundations which grew vines here over a long period of time. 
 
Wine styles: Plan de Dieu produces powerful, well-balanced red wines suited to 
barbecues and meat served in a sauce.
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône Villages Puyméras
 
Overview: this area extends over five villages set in steep-sided valleys 
(elevations ranging from 220 to 600 metres) straddling Drôme and Vaucluse. It 
occupies stony terraces littered with pebbles.
 
Wine styles: Puyméras produces powerful, well-structured red wines.
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône Villages Roaix
 
Overview: the Roaix area is set between Rasteau and Séguret. It stretches over 
land belonging to the village of the same name, in the Vaucluse department. The 
vines occupy stony or gravely terraces and decalcified clay slopes. Roaix 
produces red, rosé and white wines.
 
Wine styles: the reds are supple, delicate and extremely feminine wines with 
subtle tannins. They display aromas of red fruit and spices. The rosé wines are 
extremely fruity and refreshing. The white wines are fresh and well-balanced. Thereds pair with game and red meat, the rosés barbecues and cooked cold pork 
meats and the whites, fish.
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône Villages Rochegude
 
Overview: the Rochegude area is spread over a single village of the same name 
in southern Drôme. It produces red, rosé and white wines.
 
Wine styles: the red wines are supple, round and warm with fragrances of black 
fruit and peach stone. The rosé wines are powerful and unctuous with a slightly 
acidulous flavour. They display aromas of red fruit (red currant, raspberry). The 
whites exhibit tell-tale vegetal flavours and floral tones (honeysuckle).
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône Villages Rousset-les-Vignes
 
Overview: the area covers just one village, Rousset-les-Vignes, in the Drôme 
department. Sheer hillside sites of sandstone and stone soils are home to the 
vines.
 
Wine styles: only red wines are grown here. They display a characteristic deep 
ruby-red hue, compact body, well-integrated tannins and woody flavour. They are
suited to cellaring and reward a few years ageing by gaining finesse. They display
fragrances of red fruit and are a perfect match for all types of meat.
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône Villages Sablet
 
Overview: the entire area is set in just one village, Sablet, which is adjacent to 
Gigondas in the Vaucluse department. The soils are sandy and clayey. Sablet 
produces red, rosé and white wines.
 
Wine styles: the red wines are full, round and well-structured, with elegant 
overtones. They display aromas of red fruit, violet and blackcurrant and pair well 
with game. The powerful, fat, warm rosés exhibit a fruity bouquet with 
predominant aromas of raspberry. They are a good match for barbecues. The 
white wines display well-integrated acidity and fragrances of green apple and 
freshly-cut hay, evolving over time into aromas of gingerbread. Try with fish and 
shellfish.
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône Villages Séguret
 
Overview: the area covers the village of Séguret in the Vaucluse department. 
Séguret produces red, rosé and white wines on hillside sites and calcareous clay 
terraces.
 
Wine styles: the red wines are supple and fruity with a fruity bouquet, almond and tobacco tones. They can be served with poultry. The rosés and the whites are
delicate and elegant, developing a fruity bouquet brimming with freshness. Try 
with fish, seafood and cheese.
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône Villages Signargues
 
Overview: this is the most southerly of the Côtes du Rhône Villages appellations 
with a site specific name. Pebbled terraces, sand or Pliocene marl reddened by 
iron oxide at an average elevation of 150 metres above the Rhône, provide the 
context for the wines. 
 
Wine styles: Signargues only produces red wines.
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône Villages Saint-Gervais
 
Overview: the entire area covers the village of Saint-Gervais in the Gard 
department. The soils are sandstone on the hillside sites and more stony on the 
plateau. Saint-Gervais produces red, rosé and white wines.
 
Wine styles: the elegant, well-balanced, unctuous red wines are long on the 
palate and suitable for cellaring. They display aromas of red and stone fruit and 
are a good match for game, either roasted or served with a sauce. The rosé wines
are elegant, fat and warm with fragrances of raspberry and strawberry. Try them 
with aubergine caviar, crudités, melon or Parma ham. The white wines are fresh 
and light with a fresh, floral bouquet. Marry them with grilled fish, prawn kebabs 
or shellfish. 
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône Villages Saint-Maurice
 
Overview: the entire area covers the village of Saint-Maurice-sur-Eygues in the 
Drôme department. The soil is calcareous clay, with varying amounts of gravel, 
and some areas of lighter sandstone. Saint-Maurice produces red, rosé and white 
wines.
 
Wine styles: the red wines are elegant, not overly powerful, with a distinctively 
full attack and pleasant finish. They display a bouquet of red fruit leading into 
woody notes as they age. The rosés are characteristically fresh with a fresh, 
fruit-forward bouquet. The whites are extremely aromatic with fragrances of 
peach, apricot and violet.
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône Villages Saint-Pantaléon-les-Vignes
 
Overview: the area covers the village of Saint-Pantaléon, in the southern part of 
the Drôme department. The vines occupy calcareous clay hillsides with a few 
sandy patches and produce red and rosé wines.
 
Wine styles: the red wines are well-balanced with supple tannins and good length
on the palate. The rosé wines are delicate, with a slight fruit flavour. Both the 
reds and the rosés display a fruity bouquet. The reds can be served with coq au 
vin or Provencal-style chicken. Cooked cold pork meats are the perfect match for 
the rosés. 
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône Villages Valréas
 
Overview: the are covers the village of Valréas, in the Vaucluse department. 
Hillside sites and terraces of red clay with varying amounts of stones are home to
the vines. Valréas produces red, rosé and white wines.
 
Wine styles: the red wines are moderately powerful and are well-balanced and 
round. They display aromas of red fruit (raspberry, red currant and blackcurrant). 
The rosé wines are extremely fruity and acidulous. The white wines are dry, lively
and aromatic, fruity with vanilla tones. The reds and the rosés can pair with 
barbecues and the whites with grilled fish and seafood.
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Rhône Villages Visan
 
Overview: the area covers the village of Visan in the Vaucluse department. The 
soil is calcareous clay and extremely stony. Visan produces red, rosé and white 
wines.
 
Wine styles: the red wines are full and supple with elegant tannins. They exhibit a
complex bouquet of fruit, vanilla, blackcurrant and truffle. The rosés are elegant 
and fresh with a slight peppery touch. The whites are unctuous and fruity with 
fragrances of crushed grapes and lemon peel. All three are the perfect match for 
truffle-based dishes (scrambled eggs with truffles for example). 
 
 
A.C. Côtes du Vivarais
 
Overview: situated in the north-western portion of the southern Côtes du Rhône, 
this area straddles the departments of Ardèche and Gard, with 577 hectares 
under vine. Of the 14 villages it embraces, only Orgnac, Saint-Remèze and 
Saint-Montan are entitled to add their name to the appellation. The soils are 
shallow calcareous clay. Varietals used are Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault 
and Carignan. 
 
Wine styles: the deeply-coloured red wines are well-balanced and well-structured 
with a long-lasting finish. Aromas of bell pepper, violet, blackcurrant and raspberry are present. Try them with meat served in a sauce or game. The rosés 
are harmonious, round and delicious (fragrances of red currant, blackcurrant, 
raspberry and floral notes) and pair with lamb loin chops. The whites are vigorous
and well-balanced on the palate. They develop a floral bouquet (acacia, 
hawthorn), white fruit (quince, apple, peach) and a touch of hazelnut. Try with 
fish soup, trout or goats cheese. 
 
 
A.C. Crémant de Die
 
Overview: this appellation shares the same boundaries as Clairette de Die. The 
Clairette varietal forms the backbone of the blend, though a little Aligoté and 
small berry Muscat can be added. Crémant de Die is vinted traditionally. After 
pressing and initial must fermentation, secondary fermentation occurs in the 
bottle after a blend of sugar and yeasts has been added. The sediment (dead 
yeast deposits) is subsequently removed by disgorging. 
 
Wine styles: Crémant de Die is a sparkling white wine with a brilliant, gold-tinted 
hue and small bubbles. As a rule, it is fresh, dry and soft with good length on the 
palate. Aromas of fresh flowers and a tell-tale buttery touch are present. Try as an
appetiser or with fish.
 
 
A.C. Crozes-Hermitage
 
Overview: this area is set in the northern part of the Rhône Valley. It forms a 
boundary around Hermitage in the north and south and embraces 11 villages 
surrounding Tain-l’Hermitage. Soil types vary greatly with primarily granite 
hillside sites in the north and alluvium and terraces covered with pebbles of 
various origins in the south. The red wines are made from Syrah, the white wines 
from Marsanne and Roussanne.
 
Wine styles: the Crozes-Hermitage appellation produces red and white wines. The
deeply-coloured red wines are supple and aromatic. They display aromas of 
blackcurrant, vanilla, cinnamon, liquorice and menthol notes. Try with a rack of