The Rhône wine region takes its name from the Rhône River, which flows from its source in the Swiss Alps and runs through 250 miles of Southern France before joining the Mediterranean Sea to the west of Marseille. It’s often too easy to think of the wines of the Rhône Valley as coming from one region, when really, the north and south offer vastly different wines, with notable differences in climate, topography and the mix of grapes planted. The northern Rhône or ‘Rhône septentrional’ includes the two prestigious village of Hermitage and Côte Rotie where the wines are mainly made with Syrah. The southern rhône or ‘Rhône meridional’, is home of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The wines here are usually made with Grenache, Syrah and Mouverdre, but up to 13 grapes can be used in the blend. View our range.
Hermitage & Côte Rotie
Those 2 appellations only represent 5% of the wine produced in the valley. Hermitage lies on south facing granite hillside. Red wines are made mainly with syrah and up to 15% of white grape varieties. Those must be only roussane and marsanne and are also used to make small quantities of Hermitage blanc. Since 1989 the name ‘Hermitage’ has been protected by law and can’t be used in other winemaking area.
Côte Rotie‘s vineyards lie on south east facing steep hills and produce powerful wines yet more refined than Hermitage. They are mainly made of syrah with up to 20% of Viognier. The appellation is divided in two parts; the Côte Blonde on sandy soil hillside produces more delicate wines than the Côte Brune on iron soil, producing more structured and tannic wines.
Crozes Hermitage & Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph covers the largest area in the northern Rhône and includes 26 villages. Both areas produce mainly red wines from syrah. Soils are more fertile than Hermitage and wines are less complex and much lighter. Some whites are also produced.
Produces white wines only made with 100% viognier. Wines are rich and delicate with honey and stone fruits aromas.
Meaning ‘new castle of the Pope’ this is the oldest French appellation. Vineyards are planted on soil covered with pebbles that retain the heat. Mainly powerful and full-bodied red wines are made made predominantly with Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, but up to 13 grapes can be used in the blend including Cinsaut, Muscardin, Vaccarese, Picpoul Noir and Terret Noir. Carignan can’t be used in the blend. Whites are also produced with Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Clairette and Bourboulenc.
Gigondas & Vacqueyras
This two areas are starting to rival with the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Using mainly grenache, syrah and mourvedre, the wines produced are juicy and spicy with white pepper notes. View our Gigondas & Vacqueyras.
Côtes du Rhône
Covers most parts of southern rhône and benefits from more relaxed rules and regulations. 170 villages are included in the appellation. Côtes du Rhône Villages are restricted to specific villages whose terroir produces higher quality wines. Some can add their names next to the appellation (eg: Cairanne).