Rhône

It is easiest to treat this area of production as two distinct regions. The northern Rhône starts at Vienne and extends just below Tain-le-Hermitage. Single-varietal Syrah and Viognier wines are mainly produced, although in Côte-Rôtie they sometimes add a small amount of Viognier to the Syrah to create a more elegant red wine- a blend that is increasingly common in Australia and elsewhere. Many of the vineyards are on very steep hillsides so bush vines are grown and picking is done by hand. Some of the world’s great wines come from this area (Hermitage/Côte-Rôtie for Syrahs and Condrieu for Viognier). Some age-worthy dry whites are also produced from Marsanne and/or Roussanne. The southern Rhône is very different. It is hotter here and the wines tend to be mainly blends of several different grape varieties. The most famous name is Châteauneuf-du-Pape (the first appellation to be created in France) but there are many other highly rated appellations like Vacqueras and Gigondas. Typically the reds are based around a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, although in Châteauneuf-du-Pape up to 13 different grape varieties are allowed to be blended together! Some white and rosé is also produced. The style of the better wines tends to be more full-bodied and alcoholic than those from further north.
Rhône

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