Drought can be a problem in the area, but limited irrigation is permitted. Comprising just 27 domains, which includes three cooperatives, it’s a small appellation that stretches across five miles of rolling hills. definition.[3]. Southern Rhone White Blend is a blanket term used to describe the various combinations of white wine grapes used in the southern half of the Rhone Valley.The wines themselves are not confined to the Rhone production zone and have been interpreted and replicated with varying degrees of success in the United States, Australia, Spain, North Africa … Depending on the specific AOC rules, grapes blended into southern Rhône reds may include Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault. Gordon D. – Verified Buyer – 09/29/20 “Pegau Priced Right. Thank You! Northern Rhône Wine View All/ Add Photos; Shop all wines from Northern Rhône Join the Northern Rhône group . While rosé is often developed as a byproduct of red wine production, grapes here are cultivated exclusively for the style. Average of 89.1 points in 27 community wine reviews on 2019 Saint Cosme Côtes du Rhône, plus professional notes, label images, wine details, and recommendations on when to drink. Rosé wines can be found as well and Tavel is famous for its vibrant, slightly spicy, salmon-hued rosés. The Oxford Companion to Wine (3rd Ed. 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. Both styles are priced well in relation to quality. [9] Local producers of Côtes du Rhône-styled wines made from Syrah and Grenache lobbied for this change since the local winemaking traditions did not coincide with administrative borders, and presumably due to the greater prestige of Rhône wines in the marketplace. The most important red grape variety is Grenache, followed by Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsaut, Carignan, Cuonoise, and a few others. As a result, its wines can vary significantly in composition. These singular wines are an opportunity to dive into the distinctive and expressive land. The region’s soils vary from clay and limestone to sand and pebbles. The style here is always bone dry and distinguished from its paler Provençal cousins by deeper fruit concentration and earthy complexities. But, in recent years, “Lirac has emerged from the shadows to become something different,” she says. Long considered one of the best regions of the Côtes du Rhône Villages, the appellation obtained cru status in 2010. 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. 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. Some grapes, like Mourvèdre, serve as lead instruments, he says, while others, like Picardin, are more akin to subtle background notes. 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 … 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. “It offers more fruit, warmth and spice, and it doesn’t hurt that the price is typically 20% less.”. Rusticity is often used to differentiate the appellation’s wines from those of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas. 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. The appellation is synonymous with its galets roulés, or rounded pebbles. 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. Challen 2018 Zotovich Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sta. Elevated to cru status in 2016, Cairanne is one of the Rhône’s newest and most promising appellations. Lesser-known limestone, gravel and sand terrains contribute to the region’s unique expressions, too. Red Côtes du Rhône is usually dominated by Grenache. Yet, in recent decades, Vacqueyras has made great strides through improved vineyard and cellar standards. This nevertheless makes it the most commonly known, produced, and distributed appellation of the region. “Power and freshness aren’t opposites here. 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. Grenache and Syrah, which dominate the red wines here, can be potent and haunting in perfume. Cairanne is rarely overextracted or jammy. It remains the only appellation in the Rhône exclusive to rosé. Like most of the Southern Rhône crus, Grenache is the appellation’s backbone, augmented by Mourvèdre and Syrah. 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. “The vineyards here are always the last to be harvested. Others that the grape came 50 years later when Greeks fled from the Persian king Cyrus I. 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. ), pp. These were the wines from the area around Tavel, Roquemaure, Lirac and Chusclan on the western ('right') bank of the Rhône. 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. The region's major appellation in production volume is Côtes du Rhône AOC. 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. “It’s not just from altitude or acidity, but a saltiness and minerality reminiscent of the sea.”. 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. 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. Rhône does not have an official classification using "Grand cru", or similar terms, in contrast to Bordeaux or Burgundy. Most of the wines are red blends made from Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault, however they do produce whites and roses. However, while the northern part is a long string of tiny appellations, the south is a bit more expansive. [3] Syrah is the only red grape variety permitted in red AOC wines from this sub-region. Unlike those of Rasteau, these are youthful, delicately fortified sweet wines made from the intensely floral, fruity grapes. Cellier des Dauphins highlights four of the southern crus: Vinsobres, Cairanne, Vacqueyras, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In 2004 ten new appellations were officially added to the Rhône region, 9 in the Gard and one in the Vaucluse, which largely parallel the wines of Southern Rhône proper, while two appellations were discontinued for reasons of reforesting and urban encroachment.[8]. It imposes strict yield limits and mandates laborious quality measures like hand harvesting. In that year, INAO moved the responsibility for oversight of this appellation's wine to the regional committee of the Rhône valley. America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants of 2019, Wine Enthusiast’s 2020 Wine Star Award Winners, California Privacy Rights Do Not Sell My Information. While the 2018 growing season in France's Rhône Valley had some travails, vintners are happy with the quality of the harvest. Marsanne and Roussanne are in turn used for the whites from Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, Saint Joseph, and Saint Péray. 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! Profiles vary with terrain, but, overall, the wines of Vacqueyras combine approachable fruitiness with elegance, bright acidity and fine, persistent tannins. 4.7 out of 5 stars 232. Long before it became the official beverage of Instagram and pool parties, French royalty and intellectuals swooned for the appellation’s bottlings. The Rhone has over 2,000 years of winemaking pedigree, as it was the Roman Empire that installed vineyards into some of its … It costs less and usually tastes rather more rustic, a characteristic which has its own charm. If Gigondas is the diminutive cousin of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vaqueyras might be Gigondas’ little brother. Many private wineries also produce wines including sparkling wines and fortified wines, single varietals - particularly from the Syrah grape - and even brandies. Such changes of borders between wine regions are very rare. 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. Domaine du Pegau is one the premier names in the Southern Rhône. 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. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the most southern appellation in Southern Rhone, growing Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Clairette, Grenache Blanc and Cinsault. This diversity of terroir is reflected in the wines. 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. “Wines from Cairanne have elegance,” says Laurent Brusset, the winemaker and third-generation owner of Domaine Brusset. Most reds are drinkable on release and a generic Côtes-du-Rhône typically lasts for four years or so. Photography by Laurent Pamato, Van Son Huynh, Hervé Hôte and courtesy of Domaine Maby. These wines usually do not conform to the rules of a VDQS or AOC. Inter Rhône: Committee for the promotion of the technology, economy, communication and marketing of Rhône Wine (2005). Syrah grows well here, and it lends briskness and structure to the wine. Planted on predominantly south-facing slopes, Rasteau is characterized by profound ripeness and intensity. 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. Southern Rhône 2019 wine of the vintage: Le Vieux Donjon, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône, 2019 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. Viognier by itself is used for white wines from Condrieu and Château-Grillet. This AOC is also used by the commercial blenders (négociants) who buy grapes in bulk from various parts of the region to bottle, distribute, and export on an industrial scale. Typically it is only used if the wine does not qualify for an appellation that can command a higher price. 572-4. Some favourite producers: . 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. Vinsobres is known for its unique geographic location, lodged between the Prealps and Mont Ventoux in an amphitheater-like formation with vineyards … By using our website you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our. “Vinsobres marks the beginning of the Alps,” says winemaker Mélina Monteillet, whose family winery, Domaine de Montine, crafts bottlings in Vinsobres and neighboring Grignan. 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 white wines are made mostly from Marsanne and Roussanne. Instead, it offers typically soft and supple tannins. Just over 100 years later, wines from the 'left' bank were included in the C.D.R. “Particularly in cooler, northerly vineyards with western exposures, Vacqueyras is distinguished by its body, its balance and integration of alcohol,” says Bernard. Southern Rhone (Guides to Wines and Top Vineyards) Benjamin Lewin MW. Its climate is influenced by the mistral wind, which brings colder air from the Massif Central. 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. Most unique are the region’s nutty, deliberately oxidative rancio-style, ambré and tuilé vins doux naturel. 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. 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. 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. Nina Caplan. The most well-known dessert wine from this region is Muscat de Beaumes de Venise. These expressive fortified wines are produced from Grenache Noir, Blanc and Gris. 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. 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. The red wines of Vinsobres, elevated to cru status in 2006, must be made up of 50% Grenache and include Syrah and/or Mourvèdre. Across the Rhône River from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Lirac shares many of the same iconic galets roulés, sand and limestone soils. With wines that showcase opulence juxtaposed to elegance, the deeply concentrated, beefy bottlings of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are the undisputed royalty of the Rhône’s southern cru. “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. However, while this is allowed by the AOC rules, blending with white grapes is widely practiced only for Côte-Rôtie. “Blending is key to the complexity of each vintage.”. They are great affordable Rhone wine … By using our website and/or subscribing to our newsletter, Quick Links Southern Rhône 2016: Full report | White Southern Rhône … The largest of the Northern AOC’s, St. Joseph is home to Syrah and the white varietals Roussanne and... Cornas. Words. The Sommelier's Atlas of Taste: A Field Guide to the Great Wines of Europe Rajat Parr. A Guide to Southern Rhône wines Whereas northern Rhône wines are produced primarily from Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne, southern Rhône believes in more diversity. The right bank reds are slightly lighter and fruitier. Primary white wines include Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Clairette, Bourboulenc, and Picpoul. 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. 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. They’re invigorating yet solid wines suitable for enjoyment beyond summer, and can even benefit from cellar aging. [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. The Rhône is generally divided into two sub-regions with distinct vinicultural traditions, the Northern Rhône (referred to in French as Rhône septentrional) and the Southern Rhône (in French Rhône méridional). In Tavel, wine has always meant one thing: rosé. THE CRU VINEYARDS OF THE NORTHERN RHONE Côte Rôtie. you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our. Appellation rules that govern yields, methods of harvest and winemaking are almost identical to Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Produce from vineyards surrounding certain villages including Cairanne and others may be labeled Côtes-du-Rhône Villages AOC. Some suggested that the Greeks were responsible for bringing the Syrah grape from the Persian city of Shiraz. Equally, the white grapes have benefitted from cool nights during ripening to imbue a crisp and fresh … 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. The season started well enough, with a mild spring … There is no better way to celebrate St. Valentines Day than with the person you love and some Southern Rhone wines. 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. Photography. Characterized historically as a poor man’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas is an appellation often explained in comparison to its glossier cousin. 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. Gigondas AOC, on the other hand, is predominantly made from Grenache noir has a more restricted set of permitted grapes. White wines from the southern Rhône sub-region, such as in Châteauneuf-du-Pape whites, are also typically blends of several wine grapes. Intensely fruity and ripe, they’re approachable in their youth, but the wines are also structured with firm tannins that reward cellaring. The wines here are anchored by Grenache noir but typically include other grapes such as Syrah … Located at the northern limits of the Southern Rhône, with hillside terraces at more than 1,600 feet above sea level, Vinsobres is one of the region’s coolest appellations. 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 … By the 20th century, the region’s prominence suffered due to rampant wine fraud. A swelteringly hot, very dry year that was surprisingly successful, especially in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, both reds and whites. 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.”. And with stunning vintages from 2015 through 2017 on store shelves, now is the perfect time to dive in and drink up. The most dynamic generally hail from the region’s mighty crus. Small amounts of other traditional Rhône varieties are permitted in any blend, with the exception of Carignan. The reds can be fleshy and ripe, redolent of figs and wild strawberries, yet they are often well structured and offer spicy, savory undertones. When it comes to wine in the southern Rhône, quite a lot it seems, and it’s worth a trip to reap the benefits. Much of Lirac’s production had been focused on easy-drinking rosé, though today, red wines make up 85% of its output. In 1971, Gigondas was the first of the Côtes du Rhône Villages appellations to be elevated to cru status. $15.89. 4.8 out of 5 stars 8. The origins of the two most important grape varieties in the northern Rhone (Syrah and Viognier) have in the past been subject to speculation. Plus, when to drink the wines. The southern Rhône produces over 95% of the region’s wine output, including almost all Côte du Rhône as well as more prestigious appellations such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and Vacqueyras. 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)"). Muscat thrives in the dry heat and arid soils here, and Beaumes de Venise is perhaps best known for its vin doux naturel. 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. … Elsewhere there are mixed results; some excellent wines, others with unbalanced alcohol or tough tannins. 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. A cru, which translates to “growth” in French, designates a legally demarcated region that’s recognized for its quality and distinctive terroir. Northern Rhône is therefore cooler than southern Rhône, which means that the mix of planted grape varieties and wine styles are slightly different. Tavel became the first French rosé appellation in 1937. 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. “Compared to Gigondas, Vacqueyras has always been the more accessible and eager wine,” says Jean François Arnoux, the 13th-generation owner of Arnoux & Fils. The wines were traded to such a degree that the Duke of Burgundy banned import and export of non-Burgundian wines. WineOnline Buyers Rate Plan Pegau – An Iconic Rhône Red Wine . Côtes du Rhône méridional from Montélimar to Avignon in the southern latitudes, produced by 123 communes. At Domaine Font Sarade, owner Bernard Burle and his daughter, Claire, make wines from both Vacqueyras and Gigondas. 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. links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission. The region's major appellation in production volume is Côtes du Rhône AOC. As a whole, they share a lusciousness of fruit, fiery spice and earth characteristics. The various AOC wines of the Rhône Valley region are produced by over 6,000 wine growing properties including 1,837 private wineries and 103 cooperatives. These are more similar to the wines of Provence. Five red grape variety permitted in any blend, with the exception of.. Is influenced by the mistral wind, which includes three cooperatives, it ’,! In 2010 is reflected in the Rhône ’ s, St. Joseph is home to Syrah the. Unlike those of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas is an AOC that covers both the Northern ’... 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