Valley is one of the oldest wine-producing regions of French. There is
evidence of wine production taking place here as long ago as 600 BC. The
wine region of the Rhone Valley starts just south of Vienne, the gateway
to the northern Rhone, where the only permitted black grape variety is
Syrah. The southern Rhone, where the Grenache grape variety takes centre
stage, lies south of Montelimar and extends to Avignon. More often than
not, the Grenache will be blended with other grapes, such as Carignan,
Cinsault and Mourvèdre.
harvesting takes place in many of the terraced vineyards in the narrow
northern Rhone Valley. Vines are often trained on ingenious supports, so
that they an withstand the powerful Mistral wind which blows down the
valley. Planted on mostly granite and sandstone soils, Syrah produces
full-bodied wines, which have high tannin content when young and
therefore age very well. Côte Rôtie, one of the great wines of French,
can mix power and elegance and is often a blend of Syrah and the white
not only the most recognised name associated with Syrah, but also an
appellation making wines of great depth, concentration and structure
which are capable of ageing over decades in bottle. Crozes-Hermitage and
St. Joseph are generally lighter, while the very best vineyards from
Cornas, with their attractive 'rustic' edge, make wines which at best
rival those from Hermitage.
wines of the northern Rhone are predominantly made from Viognier,
Marsanne and Roussanne. In Condrieu, Viognier is used to make
distinctive peach and apricot-flavored wines, with high alcohol and
ample body. Marsanne and Roussanne are often blended together to make
the dramatic white wines of Hermitage and other neighboring
world-famous wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are produced in the southern
Rhône, where up to thirteen different grape varieties are permitted in
the blend! The wines of Gigondas and Vacqueryas often represent great
value and possess similar characteristics to the best Chateauneufs,
while Tavel is home to the dry and full-bodied rosé.
Côtes du Rhône, along with Côtes du Rhône Villages, come from the
Southern Rhône. The latter, which can include the name of the village,
such as Visan, can be another source of well-priced wines.
Grillet is a single estate appellation, making wines from Viognier."
XXII died in 1334, only a year after his new palace (Chateauneuf-du-Pape)
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