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. “It offers more fruit, warmth and spice, and it doesn’t hurt that the price is typically 20% less.”. WineOnline Buyers Rate Plan Pegau – An Iconic Rhône Red Wine . 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. “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. 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. Rhône does not have an official classification using "Grand cru", or similar terms, in contrast to Bordeaux or Burgundy. Designated a cru appellation in 1947, Lirac is rare in that it is authorized for production of red, white and rosé wines. Planted on predominantly south-facing slopes, Rasteau is characterized by profound ripeness and intensity. Wines from small domains can still be difficult to find in the U.S., but regional producers like Famille Perrin or Pierre Amadieu produce fine Vinsobres bottlings that have wider distribution. Plus, when to drink the wines. In 2004, Costières de Nîmes AOC, which previously had been counted as part of eastern Languedoc, was also attached to the Rhône wine region. 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. 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. Like most of the Southern Rhône crus, Grenache is the appellation’s backbone, augmented by Mourvèdre and Syrah. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links. 4.8 out of 5 stars 8. It is also more expansive in terms of grape varieties. Even if acidity is soft, there is freshness from minerality and finesse, particularly with age.”. Paperback. By using our website and/or subscribing to our newsletter, 4.6 out of 5 stars 130. $9.99. The cru’s best red wines are notable for their perfume, savoriness and complexity. The most important red grape variety is Grenache, followed by Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsaut, Carignan, Cuonoise, and a few others. Think dark … In Tavel, wine has always meant one thing: rosé. It imposes strict yield limits and mandates laborious quality measures like hand harvesting. 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. 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 … Then, in 1936, Châteauneuf-du-Pape became one of the first wine AOCs. Primary white wines include Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Clairette, Bourboulenc, and Picpoul. Unlike those of Rasteau, these are youthful, delicately fortified sweet wines made from the intensely floral, fruity grapes. The wines here are anchored by Grenache noir but typically include other grapes such as Syrah … 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. However, Châteauneuf-du-Pape winemakers are free to formulate distinct cuvées from any of the region’s 13 permitted grape varieties. Keeping that in my mind I have some great recommendations for you. The appellation is also revered for its vin doux naturel, which means naturally sweet wines. Tavel became the first French rosé appellation in 1937. Most reds are drinkable on release and a generic Côtes-du-Rhône typically lasts for four years or so. A swelteringly hot, very dry year that was surprisingly successful, especially in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, both reds and whites. Grenache and Syrah, which dominate the red wines here, can be potent and haunting in perfume. 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. 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. [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. 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. 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. 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. The art of blending is also central to the appellation’s identity. 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. Rusticity is often used to differentiate the appellation’s wines from those of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas. Such changes of borders between wine regions are very rare. “Particularly in cooler, northerly vineyards with western exposures, Vacqueyras is distinguished by its body, its balance and integration of alcohol,” says Bernard. Its altitude allows for a wide day-night temperature range that maintains acidity and balance in the grapes. The right bank reds are slightly lighter and fruitier. Vinsobres is known for its unique geographic location, lodged between the Prealps and Mont Ventoux in an amphitheater-like formation with vineyards … The Southern Rhône Valley wine region extends from Orange in the north through the communes Lirac and Tavel in the southwest. Syrah loves the well... St. Joseph. Red Côtes du Rhône is usually dominated by Grenache. The wines were traded to such a degree that the Duke of Burgundy banned import and export of non-Burgundian wines. The southern Rhône sub-region has a more Mediterranean climate with milder winters and hot summers. It costs less and usually tastes rather more rustic, a characteristic which has its own charm. Viognier by itself is used for white wines from Condrieu and Château-Grillet. Rita Hills), By continuing to use our Services and/or submitting the above information, you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our Southern Rhone (Guides to Wines and Top Vineyards) Benjamin Lewin MW. Some grapes, like Mourvèdre, serve as lead instruments, he says, while others, like Picardin, are more akin to subtle background notes. 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. We've received your email address, and soon you will start getting exclusive offers and news from Wine Enthusiast. This diversity of terroir is reflected in the wines. They are great affordable Rhone wine … “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 most well-known dessert wine from this region is Muscat de Beaumes de Venise. When the Romans left the areadisappeared so too did interest in the wine of the region. definition.[3]. ), pp. Muscat thrives in the dry heat and arid soils here, and Beaumes de Venise is perhaps best known for its vin doux naturel. Cru wines, labeled solely by their appellation, are the elite; they’re positioned above wider regional classifications like Côtes du Rhône or Côtes du Rhône Villages. Comprising just 27 domains, which includes three cooperatives, it’s a small appellation that stretches across five miles of rolling hills. These provided challenging conditions for the Grenache in many vineyards, with Ch de Beaucastel (for … With wines that showcase opulence juxtaposed to elegance, the deeply concentrated, beefy bottlings... Tavel. When you buy products our editors have selected through 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. Down here in the Southern Rhône it can get pretty hot, but the vineyards in the Vinsobres AOP can climb up to 450m above sea level (ASL) and consequently, the acidity is a little higher and the wines show some freshness to their shape. At Domaine Font Sarade, owner Bernard Burle and his daughter, Claire, make wines from both Vacqueyras and Gigondas. There is no better way to celebrate St. Valentines Day than with the person you love and some Southern Rhone wines. [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. Syrah grows well here, and it lends briskness and structure to the wine. Since 2005, its red wines have been designated to cru status as well. The Sommelier's Atlas of Taste: A Field Guide to the Great Wines of Europe Rajat Parr. 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