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The Rhône Valley

Long relegated to the status of modest bar wines, the wines of the Rhône Valley now rank among the finest wines of France and deserve a place of honor in your cellar. Let’s explore together the Rhône vineyard, its famous wines, and the great appellations of the Rhône Valley.

The characteristics of the wines from the Rhône Valley

If one were to describe the wines of the Rhône Valley, the word diversity would undoubtedly be the most appropriate. The geography of the Rhône vineyard, which stretches over more than 200 km, is indeed very unique, resulting in fine wines with very varied profiles.

There are two distinct regions. In the north, from Vienne to Livron-sur-Drôme south of Valence, the vines benefit from a continental climate with sufficient rainfall and good sunshine. In this valley, nestled between the Alps and the Massif Central, the vines are cultivated on terraces on steep slopes. The clayey and granitic, sometimes schistose soil, produces aromatic and powerful wines: Condrieu, Côte Rôtie, Hermitage...

In the south, between Montélimar and Avignon, the vineyard is typically Mediterranean. Swept by the mistral, the soils are rocky, sandy in places, or sometimes made up of pebbles. The vineyard extends into the Gard to the west and to the Durance in the southeast, on the slopes of Ventoux and Luberon. Here, opulent wines are produced, including one of the greatest wines: Châteauneuf du Pape.

Finally, to the richness of the terroirs is added a variety of grape varieties and production methods. In the north, the reds are single-varietal and based on Syrah, while in the south, a blend of different grape varieties such as Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault is often preferred. The whites are predominantly made from a blend of Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier both in the north and south. This is not to mention other typical Rhône grape varieties: Clairette, Muscat à petits grains, Bourboulenc, Carignan, Piquepoul...

The renowned appellations of the Rhône Valley

Beyond all these characteristics, Rhône wines have evolved over the years. They are mainly red wines, but also include renowned rosés, a few whites, sweet wines, and sparkling wines.

The appellations Côtes-du-Rhône, Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages, and the independent AOCs (Luberon, Ventoux, Grignan-les-Adhémar...) highlight some gems, but it is the communal AOCs that bring together the exceptional wines of the Rhône Valley.

Among the prestigious northern crus, we can cite Côte-Rôtie, Saint Joseph, Cornas, and Crozes Hermitage, red wines with great aging potential, both robust and refined; they exude spicy aromas, licorice, and violets characteristic of Syrah. On the white side, Château Grillet and Condrieu are rich and creamy wines produced exclusively with Viognier; their golden hue conceals complex and delicate aromas of white flowers, apricot, and honey.

In the south, there are prestigious AOCs such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Lirac, and Vacqueyras... These offer powerful reds and exceptional whites. The red appellations based on Grenache are sunny, fleshy, and fruity, like Gigondas, with notes of roasted cocoa. Also noteworthy are the AOC Tavel with its fruity and refreshing rosés, as well as Rasteau and Muscat-Beaumes-de-Venise, sweet natural wines that are both intense and fresh.

Looking for a great Rhône wine or a mature vintage? How about a Château-Grillet 1990 or a Châteauneuf-du-Pape Château Rayas 2009? Discover our entire selection of old vintages and rare wines from the Rhône Valley.