RHÔNE VALLEY

The Rhône Valley vineyards are divided into two parts: the Northern Rhône Valley and the Southern Rhône Valley. It stretches 250 km on either side of the Rhône, from Vienne in the north to Avignon in the south. It is the second largest vineyard in France in terms of volume of AOC wine production, after Bordeaux. The vineyards cover some 70,000 hectares, with over 80% of the area and production of Rhone Valley wines concentrated in the southern Rhône. The proportion of organic wines is quite significant, representing 10% of the surface area.

THE HISTORY OF RHÔNE VALLEY WINES

The beginnings of the Rhone Valley vineyards date back to the 1st century BC in the northern Rhone Valley, when the Greeks were already cultivating vines in Marseille. Later, the Romans added their stone to the edifice by creating the vineyard of Vienne, which immediately became famous. Many plantations and restructurings were carried out to trade with the wines of the Rhône Valley. A major step was taken in the 14th century with the planting of a large vineyard near Avignon to supply the Popes, who were great fans of Rhône Valley wines at the time. In the mid-19th century, what used to be called "la Côste du Rhône" became the Côtes-du-Rhône we know today. Finally, Baron Le Roy, a winegrower from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, obtained recognition for this fabulous appellation in 1933, marking the beginning of the AOC and INAO.

WINE FROM THE NORTHERN RHONE VALLEY

Also known as the northern vineyards, the Northern Rhône Valley stretches from Vienne to Valence and covers 4,700 hectares. The terroir is based on granite soils on hillsides and terraces, leaving little room for vines and hence for the production of Rhône Valley wine. However, the sunshine and temperate climate are ideal for growing Syrah. This grape variety often produces powerful Rhône wines with good ageing potential and spiciness. For white Rhône Valley wines, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier are also grown. There are 8 Northern Rhône Valley appellations: Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Condrieu, Saint-Joseph, Château-Grillet, Saint-Peray and Cornas.

WINE FROM THE SOUTHERN RHONE VALLEY

The southern vineyards cover 71,000 hectares from Avignon to Montélimar and make up most of the Rhone Valley. The Southern Rhône Valley has a rather Mediterranean climate, with plenty of sunshine offset by the Mistral wind. The mistral has a strong influence on the wines of the Rhône Valley, as it prevents the development of disease in the vines during wet periods, for example. On the other hand, in summer it can also trigger and/or aggravate fires. The terroir of the Rhône Valley is rich and varied, with both hillside and plateau soils. This allows a large number of grape varieties, and consequently appellations, to flourish in the region, such as Côtes-du-RhôneGigondas or Ventoux, the best known of which is Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

THE EMBLEMATIC ESTATES OF THE RHONE VALLEY

The Rhône Valley is full of vineyards and vintages to discover, and the diversity of terroirs and wine styles in the Rhône Valley is a real strength for this wine region. Here are our favourites: Domaine Stéphane Ogier, Domaine du Vieux TélégrapheDomaine de la Janasse and the wines of Famille Perrin.

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