Rhone Valley wine
Rhone Valley wine includes some of the most famous names in French wine. The Rhone Valley is located in the south east of France, emptying into the Mediterranean Sea. The region produces a large number of wines under various AOC designations, the largest of which is the Cotes du Rhone AOC. Wine reviewers generally divide Rhone Valley wines into those coming from the Northern Rhone, known as the Rhone septentrional, and those of the Southern Rhone, or Rhone meridional. In the north, the winegrowers generally produce red wines using the Syrah grape and sometimes blended with white grape varieties. The white wine in this region is often made using Viognier, Marsanne and Roussane grapes. In the south they normally use blends of several grape varieties.
The geography of Rhone Valley wine
The Rhone Valley's various AOC areas include more than 6,000 wine growing estates, almost 2,000 private wineries and more than 100 co-ops. Wine is either made on site, sold to the local co-operative or to one of the 50 Rhone Valley negociants, who bulk buy vast amounts of Rhone Valley wine and blend it into popular and simple wines for export. Climate plays a large part in the variety of Rhone Valley wines. In the north there is a continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters. Here the famous Mistral wind cools the climate, making it noticeably cooler than the southern Rhone. In the north, Syrah is the only red grape variety allowed in red AOC classed wines. The southern Rhone has a far more Mediterranean climate and the hilly geography protects many vineyards from the worst effects of the Mistral.
Complexity in Rhone Valley wines
While Crozes-Hermitage may be the best-known wine of the northern Rhone, Chateauneuf-du-pape is the most famous wine of the south. This fabulous Rhone Valley wine perhaps best sums up the complexity of wines in the region. Some Chateauneuf-du-pape wines contain no less than 19 grape varieties and it may surprise some wine lovers to learn that nine of these ten grapes can be white varieties. Some of the other wines of this sub-region may be made from an even greater number of grape varieties.Guiding you through Rhone Valley wine
The world of Rhone Valley wines may be a complex one but it can also be mist rewarding. Gilbert & Gaillard can guide toy through these complexities, uncovering the best wines from this fascinating region. With some of France's grandest wines together with some of the most innovative new winemakers, a rare treat awaits.