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WINES BY REGION

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Rhône Valley

The Rhone Valley contains countless small wine-producing villages and appellations that are broadly grouped into two main divisions, the northern and the southern Rhone, or under a generic 'Cotes du Rhone' classification.  The northern Rhone, commencing just south of Lyon, includes villages and appellations such as Condrieu, Cote-Rotie, St.-Joseph, Cornas and Hermitage, while the southern Rhone includes Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Tavel and many others. rhone-vineyards.jpg

In the northern Rhone, Syrah (Shiraz) is the dominant grape variety - and indeed, the only red grape permissable - while Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne are all permitted.  Individual communes also have their own restrictions, such as Condrieu being only Viognier; Cote-Rotie permitting blending of Syrah with the white varieties; and Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage and St.-Joseph can be Syrah, or Marsanne, or Roussanne.  Cornas is exclusively Syrah.  In the southern Rhone it's more about which wine styles are permitted as opposed to varieties, as the same 15 or so varieties may be planted throughout the region yet different villages allow red, white and/or roses to be made, but not necessarily each of these.  Strict percentages on these varieties and proportions apply within the varying appellations.

It's believed that vines were first cultivated here more than 2,500 years ago, and today there are more than 6,000 vineyards and 2,000 producers cultivating more than 85,000 hectares of vines.  This diverse, and utterly beautiful region makes an impressive range of wines styles across all prices, and generally offers some exceptional value for money.

 


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