The region's major appellation in production volume is Côtes du Rhône AOC. Privacy Policy, By continuing to use our Services and/or submitting the above information, you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of ourPrivacy Policy, Welcome to winemag.com! 2016 southern rhÔne EXCEPTIONAL QUALITY HARVEST: 2016 MUSCARDIN CROP FROM 1998 VINES ON GRAND PIERRE, DOMAINE DU BANNERET, AT CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE: NERVE, ACIDITY, FLORAL NOTES IN THE GRAPES 2016 is an exceptional vintage at CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE , and is very good indeed elsewhere. Beloved by King Louis XIV, Balzac and Hemingway, Tavel wines are often shockingly pink, with hues that range from deep salmon to ruby. The Southern Rhône in general has an earlier cycle than the Northern Rhône, and the very wet winter and spring conditions (600 mm of rain by mid-June: more than the average annual total) combined with less Mistral wind than usual meant rampant late May mildew attacks. The “Roasted Slope” is home to some of the steepest vineyards in all of France. The southern Rhône sub-region has a more Mediterranean climate with milder winters and hot summers. Since about 1998 Viognier is increasingly being used and is also appearing as a single varietal. In that year, INAO moved the responsibility for oversight of this appellation's wine to the regional committee of the Rhône valley. [2] Rhône reappeared in the 13th century when the Popes and their considerable purchasing power moved to Avignon, at which time the production of wine expanded greatly. Planted on predominantly south-facing slopes, Rasteau is characterized by profound ripeness and intensity. In 1446 the city of Dijon forbade all wines from Lyon, Tournon and Vienne, arguing that they were "très petits et pauvres vins" – very small and miserable wines. Stretching from just south of Lyon all the way up to Avignon, the extensive Rhone wine region runs 200 kilometres (120 miles) north to south, making it the second-largest AOC wine region in all of France (second only to Bordeaux).. Plus, when to drink the wines. Most of the wines are red blends made from Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault, however they do produce whites and roses. Northern Rhône Wine View All/ Add Photos; Shop all wines from Northern Rhône Join the Northern Rhône group . In 1650, to guard against forgeries a set of rules was passed in an attempt to guarantee the origin of the wine. Rhône does not have an official classification using "Grand cru", or similar terms, in contrast to Bordeaux or Burgundy. Syrah is the only red grape variety permitted in red AOC wines from this sub-region. The Sommelier's Atlas of Taste: A Field Guide to the Great Wines of Europe Rajat Parr. “Blending is key to the complexity of each vintage.”. Drilling down further still, there are 17 demarcated crus in the Côtes du Rhône, eight in the north and nine in the south. ), pp. In recent decades, however, it’s become increasingly difficult to differentiate the best of Gigondas from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Both styles are priced well in relation to quality. links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission. These expressive fortified wines are produced from Grenache Noir, Blanc and Gris. In many appellation regulations, a division is made into main grape varieties (indicated by "M"), supplementary varieties (indicated by "S"), and accessory varieties (indicated by "(A)"). Fortified wines (vin doux naturel) are made in the Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise AOC and Rasteau AOCs. In 1971, Gigondas was the first of the Côtes du Rhône Villages appellations to be elevated to cru status. The Rhône wine region in Southern France is situated in the Rhône valley and produces numerous wines under various Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) designations. Early reports indicate that both the Northern and Southern Rhône's recent hot streak of vintages that started with 2015 will continue, though yields in the south are significantly down.. [4] Those vineyard owners which do not vinify their wines themselves deliver their grapes in bulk either to a winemaking cooperative, of which there are 103 in the region, or sell them to one of the 51 négociants (wine producers and merchants) who blend, distribute, and export on an industrial scale. “Wines from Cairanne have elegance,” says Laurent Brusset, the winemaker and third-generation owner of Domaine Brusset. Production is almost entirely red wines, which must be made from at least 50% Grenache and contain either Mourvèdre or Syrah, and can be enhanced by a host of other Rhône varieties. In most cases, Northern Rhône appellations allow many fewer varieties than those of Southern Rhône. Community wine reviews and ratings on 2018 Marks & Spencer Côtes du Rhône La Grande Voute, plus professional notes, label images, wine details, and recommendations on when to drink. Lesser-known limestone, gravel and sand terrains contribute to the region’s unique expressions, too. The prestigious Northern Rhône appellations account for less than 5% of the total Rhône wine production.[5]. Grenache and Syrah, which dominate the red wines here, can be potent and haunting in perfume. There are, however, differences between the Rhône AOCs regarding their geographical delineation and naming practices, which, in turn, provide a classification into four distinct categories: Different grape varieties are allowed in the different Rhône appellations; a few appellations are single variety appellations, while the regional Côtes du Rhône appellation allow 21 different varieties. Photography. The Southern Rhône also produces white wines, though in much smaller portion, typically these are made from Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier. “Rasteau is a powerful wine,” says Helen Durand, owner of Domaine du Trapadis, a small estate winery. Its climate is influenced by the mistral wind, which brings colder air from the Massif Central. Southern Rhône wines can range from simple, easy summer wines to very complex, oak-aged whites like Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, which are rounded and best enjoyed after a few years of bottle age. Red Côtes du Rhône is usually dominated by Grenache. Here, the Rhone Valley is steep and narrow, and the powerful mistral wind blows through it. Other appellations falling outside the main Rhône area in terms of wine styles but administratively within it are Clairette de Die AOC, Crémant de Die AOC, Grignan-Les Adhemar AOC, Luberon AOC, Ventoux AOC, Côtes du Vivarais AOC. The differing terroirs, together with the rugged landscape which partly protects the valleys from the Mistral, produce microclimates which give rise to a wide diversity of wines. They’re invigorating yet solid wines suitable for enjoyment beyond summer, and can even benefit from cellar aging. … Grenache reigns supreme here, much as it does throughout the entire Southern Rhône. The style here is always bone dry and distinguished from its paler Provençal cousins by deeper fruit concentration and earthy complexities. What Do We Mean When We Say Rhône-style Wine? WineOnline Buyers Rate Plan Pegau – An Iconic Rhône Red Wine . With a range of grapes and the freedom to blend, winemakers in the Southern Rhone can produce a wide range of styles, typically offering great quality and flavor at affordable prices. Yet others suggested the grape came from the Sicilian city of Syracuse, whence circa 280 AD the Romans brought it and the Viognier grape. The Rhône Valley in Southern France is the second largest wine-growing region in ‘la Métropole,’ covering an expansive 167,112 vineyard acres and stretching from Vienne in the north all the way to the Mediterranean Sea in the south. Therefore, almost all Côtes du Rhône AOC is produced in southern Rhône, since the northern sub-region is covered by well-known appellations and also is much smaller in terms of total vineyard surface. $15.89. This designation proves both a reward and challenge to winegrowers. The Southern Rhone is, surprise, south of the Northern Rhone valley. Today, nine cru appellations span the region, each offering distinct wines that express the Southern Rhône’s varied terroirs. These provided challenging conditions for the Grenache in many vineyards, with Ch de Beaucastel (for … For wines bearing the Cornas AOC designation, Syrah must be used exclusively, whereas other reds from the northern Rhône sub-region may be blended with white wine grapes, either Viognier or Marsanne and Roussanne, depending on the appellation. The first cultivated vines in the region were probably planted around 600 BC. The most well-known dessert wine from this region is Muscat de Beaumes de Venise. It imposes strict yield limits and mandates laborious quality measures like hand harvesting. Southern Rhone Wine Region. Despite limited distribution stateside, the 150 or so winegrowers of Beaumes de Venise actually produce more than three times as much red wine than vin doux naturel. While the southern Rhône is one of the world’s top winemaking regions — it’s home to the famed Châteauneuf-du-Pape, after all — it certainly has its … Find ratings for recent vintages in France’s Southern Rhône, summing up the quality and character of the reds and whites, including Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre, from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and more. There is no better way to celebrate St. Valentines Day than with the person you love and some Southern Rhone wines. Foreign demand for them is so great that about 80% of the region’s wines are exported, primarily to the U.S. and the UK. Southern Rhône 2019 wine of the vintage: Le Vieux Donjon, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône, 2019 [6] Other nearby AOC regions including Côtes du Vivarais AOC, Grignan-Les Adhemar AOC, Lirac AOC, Tavel AOC, Vacqueyras AOC, and Ventoux AOC may contain even more varieties in the blend. Like Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas is defined by luscious fruit, generosity and spice. For example, the red bottling of Château Rayas is 100% Grenache, while at Château de Beaucastel, Winemaker César Perrin describes his family’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape rouge as “a symphony with each of the 13 grape varieties playing a valuable role.”. The largest of the Northern AOC’s, St. Joseph is home to Syrah and the white varietals Roussanne and... Cornas. Typically it is only used if the wine does not qualify for an appellation that can command a higher price. By using our website and/or subscribing to our newsletter, Inter Rhône: Committee for the promotion of the technology, economy, communication and marketing of Rhône Wine (2005). At Domaine Font Sarade, owner Bernard Burle and his daughter, Claire, make wines from both Vacqueyras and Gigondas. It remains the only appellation in the Rhône exclusive to rosé. The art of blending is also central to the appellation’s identity. Long considered one of the best regions of the Côtes du Rhône Villages, the appellation obtained cru status in 2010. The northern sub-region produces red wines from the Syrah grape, sometimes blended with up to 20% of white wine grapes, and white wines from Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier grapes. White wines from the southern Rhône sub-region, such as in Châteauneuf-du-Pape whites, are also typically blends of several wine grapes. Such changes of borders between wine regions are very rare. The entire Rhône region produces around 4 million hl of wine each year, of which over half is classified under the Côte du Rhône and Côte du Rhône-Villages appellations. They are usually only sold on the premises. Profiles vary with terrain, but, overall, the wines of Vacqueyras combine approachable fruitiness with elegance, bright acidity and fine, persistent tannins. “Each year, each member of our family makes their own blend, and then we decide which direction to go,” says Perrin. Southern Rhone (Guides to Wines and Top Vineyards) Benjamin Lewin MW. Designated a cru appellation in 1947, Lirac is rare in that it is authorized for production of red, white and rosé wines. They are great affordable Rhone wine … When it comes to wine in the southern Rhône, quite a lot it seems, and it’s worth a trip to reap the benefits. The most dynamic generally hail from the region’s mighty crus. Characterized historically as a poor man’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas is an appellation often explained in comparison to its glossier cousin. In Tavel, wine has always meant one thing: rosé. When you buy products our editors have selected through 4.6 out of 5 stars 130. … Four Ways to Explore Wine Outside the Tasting Room, Welcome to winemag.com! Gigondas AOC, on the other hand, is predominantly made from Grenache noir has a more restricted set of permitted grapes. The reds from the left bank are full bodied, rich in tannins while young, and are characterized by their aromas of prune, undergrowth, chocolate and ripe black fruit. Vinsobres is known for its unique geographic location, lodged between the Prealps and Mont Ventoux in an amphitheater-like formation with vineyards … While rosé is often developed as a byproduct of red wine production, grapes here are cultivated exclusively for the style. The red wines of Rasteau are composed principally of Grenache, though they’re augmented by Syrah, Mourvèdre and a host of other minor blending partners. “There’s an element of freshness here,” says Louis Barruol, owner of Château de Saint Cosme, a Gigondas estate that dates to the 15th century. While the 2018 growing season in France's Rhône Valley had some travails, vintners are happy with the quality of the harvest. Muscat thrives in the dry heat and arid soils here, and Beaumes de Venise is perhaps best known for its vin doux naturel. Cellier des Dauphins highlights four of the southern crus: Vinsobres, Cairanne, Vacqueyras, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Its altitude allows for a wide day-night temperature range that maintains acidity and balance in the grapes. It costs less and usually tastes rather more rustic, a characteristic which has its own charm. Domaine du Pegau is one the premier names in the Southern Rhône. As a whole, they share a lusciousness of fruit, fiery spice and earth characteristics. Efforts by Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s winegrowers to designate borders and impose strict production rules led to the French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system, which now governs the nation’s wines. The Southern Rhône Valley wine region extends from Orange in the north through the communes Lirac and Tavel in the southwest. The region’s soils vary from clay and limestone to sand and pebbles. Domaine de la Verrière by Chêne Bleu ‍ To the visitor, intoxicated by good food and fine wine, pale stone churches and steeply sloping vineyards, the … America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants of 2019, Wine Enthusiast’s 2020 Wine Star Award Winners, California Privacy Rights Do Not Sell My Information. Primary white wines include Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Clairette, Bourboulenc, and Picpoul. Long before it became the official beverage of Instagram and pool parties, French royalty and intellectuals swooned for the appellation’s bottlings. Words. The right bank reds are slightly lighter and fruitier. Châteauneuf is most famous in wine books as the appellation in which 13 different grape varieties... Gigondas . He says that the advances can be attributed to cru appellations like Gigondas being held to “the same restrictive regulations [as Châteauneuf-du-Pape] to produce wine.”. While much of the cru is planted in what’s known as the garrigues, or flatlands covered with galets roulés, there are higher-elevation vines found on the region’s sandy slopes and stony terraces as well. Though the southern Rhône produces red, white and rosé wines, most wines from the region are blended from any of three red grapes: Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Gordon D. – Verified Buyer – 09/29/20 “Pegau Priced Right. The cru’s best red wines are notable for their perfume, savoriness and complexity. From north to south the appellations in the northern Rhône are: Northern Rhône reds are often identified by their signature aromas of green olive and smoky bacon. The red wines of Vinsobres, elevated to cru status in 2006, must be made up of 50% Grenache and include Syrah and/or Mourvèdre. The permitted white grapes of the appellation “are often planted at higher altitudes, where cool night temperatures lend acidity and delicacy to the wines,” he says. Marsanne and Roussanne are in turn used for the whites from Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, Saint Joseph, and Saint Péray. Keeping that in my mind I have some great recommendations for you. The season started well enough, with a mild spring … Viognier by itself is used for white wines from Condrieu and Château-Grillet. Some suggested that the Greeks were responsible for bringing the Syrah grape from the Persian city of Shiraz. Compared to its powerful contemporaries, it’s sleek, fresh and light on its feet. When the Romans left the areadisappeared so too did interest in the wine of the region. Calcareous soils and high altitude lend minerality and freshness.”. Grenache thrives in this arid, sun-drenched terrain, and a large proportion of 30–90 year-old vines continue to bear fruit year after year. A feature of the cultivation of the region is the use of large pebbles around the bases of the vines to absorb the heat of the sun during the day to keep the vines warm at night when, due to the cloudless skies, there is often a significant drop in temperature. Tavel became the first French rosé appellation in 1937. For this year St Valentine’s wine column, you are really going to score? It is also more expansive in terms of grape varieties. you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our. While Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the original cru of the Southern Rhône, advances in viticulture and winemaking have blurred the lines between the appellation and its lesser-known and less expensive neighbors. Even if acidity is soft, there is freshness from minerality and finesse, particularly with age.”. Intensely fruity and ripe, they’re approachable in their youth, but the wines are also structured with firm tannins that reward cellaring. Official Rhône wine trade association website, "Cairanne promoted to Côtes du Rhône cru - Decanter", JORF n°177 du 1 août 2004 page 13753 texte n° 25: Arrêté du 19 juillet 2004 relatif à la composition des comités régionaux vins et eaux-de-vie de l'Institut national des appellations d'origine, AOC regulations for Condrieu, version 28 October 2009, AOC regulations for Château-Grillet, version 28 October 2009, AOC regulations for Cornas, version 28 October 2009, AOC regulations for Côte-Rôtie, version 28 October 2009, AOC regulations for Hermitage, version 28 October 2009, AOC regulations for Crozes-Hermitage, version 29 October 2009, AOC regulations for Saint-Joseph, version 28 October 2009, AOC regulations for Saint-Péray, version 28 October 2009, AOC regulations for Côtes du Rhône, version 14 October 2009, AOC regulations for Côtes du Rhône, version 23 October 2009, AOC regulations for Beaumes de Venise, version 23 October 2009, AOC regulations for Châteauneuf-du-Pape, version 20 October 2009, AOC regulations for Gigondas, version 23 October 2009, AOC regulations for Lirac, version 14 October 2009, AOC regulations for Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, version 13 October 2009, AOC regulations for Rasteau, version 13 October 2009, AOC regulations for Tavel, version 20 October 2009, AOC regulations for Vacqueyras, version 14 October 2009, Les Vins des Côtes du Rhône - Côtes du Rhône official site, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Rhône_wine&oldid=998671675, France articles missing geocoordinate data, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 6 January 2021, at 14:00. A key factor that differentiates the cru is topography. “It’s not just from altitude or acidity, but a saltiness and minerality reminiscent of the sea.”. By the 20th century, the region’s prominence suffered due to rampant wine fraud. The French call the region Côtes du Rhône Méridionales and it includes some of the best known appellations in France, such as … As a result, its wines can vary significantly in composition. “Power and freshness aren’t opposites here. A wide variation in varietal blends and three distinct soil types within the appellation—galets roulés, sand and limestone—further enhance complexity in these wines. Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer's Tour of France (25th Anniversary Edition) Kermit Lynch. A cru, which translates to “growth” in French, designates a legally demarcated region that’s recognized for its quality and distinctive terroir. The origins of the two most important grape varieties in the northern Rhone (Syrah and Viognier) have in the past been subject to speculation. “The vineyards here are always the last to be harvested. These may include Ugni blanc, Roussanne, Bourboulenc, Picpoul, and Clairette. Depending on the specific AOC rules, grapes blended into southern Rhône reds may include Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault. definition.[3]. Cairanne is rarely overextracted or jammy. Some favourite producers: . Think dark … Côtes du Rhône AOC is an AOC that covers both the northern and southern sub-regions of Rhône. This diversity of terroir is reflected in the wines. Located at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail, and adjacent to Gigondas, the vineyards of Vacqueyras are generally lower in elevation and warmer than their neighbors. The white wines are made mostly from Marsanne and Roussanne. These singular wines are an opportunity to dive into the distinctive and expressive land. The great majority of these are cultivated on the eastern side of the Rhône between the river bank near the town of Orange, and the Vaucluse-Luberon chain of mountains. Most unique are the region’s nutty, deliberately oxidative rancio-style, ambré and tuilé vins doux naturel. “Vinsobres marks the beginning of the Alps,” says winemaker Mélina Monteillet, whose family winery, Domaine de Montine, crafts bottlings in Vinsobres and neighboring Grignan. Excess wines of the lowest quality, Vin de Table, occasionally become part of the wine lake and are reprocessed into industrial alcohol. From Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the wine of popes and kings, to the easy-drinking bottlings of Côtes du Rhône found in bistros worldwide, the hedonistic wines of the Southern Rhône are familiar friends. The wines were traded to such a degree that the Duke of Burgundy banned import and export of non-Burgundian wines. 4.7 out of 5 stars 232. As previously written, the 2016 vintage in the Southern Rhône produced red wines of exquisite balance and concentration with the requisite freshness and fine tannic structure to allow the best wines to age gracefully over many years, while being accessible early on. Wines here are mostly red blends of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre. This nevertheless makes it the most commonly known, produced, and distributed appellation of the region. Comprising just 27 domains, which includes three cooperatives, it’s a small appellation that stretches across five miles of rolling hills. The northern Rhone is a section of the river of the same name in the southeast of France. After visiting Pegau’s shop in Chateauneuf du Pape and tasting several of their top notch wines, the “Plan” represents a great way to enjoy the best value of their lineup. Located at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail, Beaumes de Venise is a particularly warm appellation sheltered from the Mistral, the famously frigid northerly winds of the Rhône. Syrah is the most important … Then, in 1936, Châteauneuf-du-Pape became one of the first wine AOCs. It’s typified, however, by a slimmer profile than the brawny wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, as well as an intoxicating pungency of garrigue, the rustic base notes of underbrush and herb found throughout Provence and the South of France. Most of the wines are blends. Elsewhere there are mixed results; some excellent wines, others with unbalanced alcohol or tough tannins. Yet, in recent decades, Vacqueyras has made great strides through improved vineyard and cellar standards. Most reds are drinkable on release and a generic Côtes-du-Rhône typically lasts for four years or so. Compared to the powerhouse wines typical to the Southern Rhône, the Grenache-based blends here often exhibit a distinct finesse. Paperback. Gigondas, along with neighboring Vacqueyras and Beaumes de Venise, sits along the slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail, a ragged limestone formation that towers above the Southern Rhône. “Compared to Gigondas, Vacqueyras has always been the more accessible and eager wine,” says Jean François Arnoux, the 13th-generation owner of Arnoux & Fils. Wines from the southern appellations are generally blends dominated by Grenache, with Mourvèdre and Syrah as complementary varieties that provide structure and depth of color. If Gigondas is the diminutive cousin of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vaqueyras might be Gigondas’ little brother. Others that the grape came 50 years later when Greeks fled from the Persian king Cyrus I. Tavel AOC, produced in the special microclimate of the sillon rhodanien (the furrow of the Rhône) by some thirty producers including Château d'Aqueria, Domaine Maby, Domaine de la Mordorée, Domaine Pelaquier, is an elite rosé only, which has been referred to as 'the wine of kings". Instead, it offers typically soft and supple tannins. The Rhone has over 2,000 years of winemaking pedigree, as it was the Roman Empire that installed vineyards into some of its … The southern Rhône's most famous red wine is Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a blend containing up to 19 varieties of wine grapes (ten red and nine white) as permitted by the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC rules. However, Châteauneuf-du-Pape winemakers are free to formulate distinct cuvées from any of the region’s 13 permitted grape varieties. Paperback. The best vineyards are on terraced slopes. Though few of us are currently able to visit personally at this time, armchair travelers can easily delight in this bucolic part of the world via its wines. While Grenache is central to Lirac’s distinct blackberry character, winemakers have increasingly tapped Syrah and Mourvèdre as central blending components. Robinson, Jancis (2006). Southern Rhône Châteauneuf-du-Pape . Syrah grows well here, and it lends briskness and structure to the wine. Challen 2018 Zotovich Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sta. The excess production of many domains and cooperatives is released as Vin de Pays which are marketed as Vin de Pays du Gard, Vin de Pays de Vaucluse, etc., or are sold to blenders of wine from the European Union, and mass food distribution for sale as own brands. Châteauneuf-du-Pape translates to “new home of the Pope.” It’s a moniker that dates to the early 14th century when Pope Clement V established a summer court in nearby Avignon. Small amounts of other traditional Rhône varieties are permitted in any blend, with the exception of Carignan. In 1737 the King decreed that all casks destined for resale should be branded C.D.R. [1] However, extensive DNA typing and viticultural research has established beyond doubt that Syrah originated in the Rhône region itself. Just over 100 years later, wines from the 'left' bank were included in the C.D.R. Long before it became the official beverage of Instagram and... Lirac. Equally, the white grapes have benefitted from cool nights during ripening to imbue a crisp and fresh … The outcrops of the Dentelles protect against the morning sun and extend the growing season. Many private wineries also produce wines including sparkling wines and fortified wines, single varietals - particularly from the Syrah grape - and even brandies. The name Côtes du Rhône comes from public administration in the Middle Ages and was the name (Côte without 's') of a district in the Gard département. “Particularly in cooler, northerly vineyards with western exposures, Vacqueyras is distinguished by its body, its balance and integration of alcohol,” says Bernard. 572-4. The Oxford Companion to Wine (3rd Ed. The Rhône wine region in Southern France is situated in the Rhône valley and produces numerous wines under various Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) designations. However, while the northern part is a long string of tiny appellations, the south is a bit more expansive. The appellation is synonymous with its galets roulés, or rounded pebbles. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our. However, while this is allowed by the AOC rules, blending with white grapes is widely practiced only for Côte-Rôtie. The region's major appellation in production volume is Côtes du Rhône AOC. The southern sub-region produces an array of red, white and rosé wines, often blends of several grapes such as in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Rosé wines can be found as well and Tavel is famous for its vibrant, slightly spicy, salmon-hued rosés. The most important red grape variety is Grenache, followed by Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsaut, Carignan, Cuonoise, and a few others. These are more similar to the wines of Provence. “The terroir of Lirac is often hidden in the shadows of Châteauneuf-du-Pape,” says Laure Poisson, commercial director for Les Vignerons de Tavel & Lirac a cooperative of 55 family growers. Nina Caplan. Côtes du Rhône méridional from Montélimar to Avignon in the southern latitudes, produced by 123 communes. With such a variety of terroir in the Southern Rhône – diverse soil types, grape varieties, microclimates and winemaking approaches – it’s not always easy to generalise about which are the best vintages to drink now. Since 2005, its red wines have been designated to cru status as well. A swelteringly hot, very dry year that was surprisingly successful, especially in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, both reds and whites.