We recently had Alexandre Balland (chatting below with VW Head Buyer, Andrew Baker) of Inter Rhône in the office. He was sharing his vast expertise of the Rhône Valley with every single staff member as part of our Make Time for Wine in-house wine initiative.
It was the precursor to our month-long focus on the wines of the Rhône Valley. We love talking about the region and encouraging our customers to taste the range. So have a little read of the below and click here for a few quid off!
Côtes du Rhône
Côtes du Rhône is the vastest appellation with a whole host of vineyards from north to south. Given its size and spread, there are a number of different wines and styles that you’ll find behind a Côtes du Rhône AOC label. Predominantly red but white and rosé too.
In spite of the huge number of different reds to choose from, they’ll typically all share one thing in common stylistically. Generosity – making it one of world’s best sources for easy-drinking red.
Being known as ‘one of the most beautiful village in France’ is quite fitting for Seguret. Its wines are some of the prettiest too. It’s hard work navigating by foot the narrow lanes cut into steep slopes. However, there’s nothing laborious about the red wines with a sweet and floral nose, medium weight on the palate and refreshing acidity. That freshness is typical of the region’s whites and rosés too.
It has various soil type sites at its disposal where different parcels can be blended to increase complexity.
The L’Echarpe de Saint Vincent displays Seguret’s prettiness in the glass with floral and bright red fruit aromatics and delicacy on the palate.
Lirac sits alone as the southernmost appellation of the Rhône and as such can sometimes slip under the radar. It’s also one of the few regions in this part of the Rhône that makes a good amount of red, white and rosé thanks to its wide variety of soil types.
The clay soil sites with large pebbles are where the red varieties really flourish, offering the wines delicate red fruit, floral but peppery aromas with firm structure. Try our Mont Redon Lirac to see this delicate but peppery structure in full flow.
Lirac’s reputation for rosé is excellent too (no surprise really as it borders the rosé-famous Tavel) and has a higher than average white wine production, relative to the region as a whole. Most of its whites are complex blends using a number of mainly local varieties. The four most common are Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Roussanne and Clairette, of which all four in equal parts make up the blend for the intense but elegant Chateau Le Devoy Lirac Blanc.
Meaning ‘burnt earth’ in Old Celtic, its name tells the full story. Cornas is a south-facing vineyard area on the slopes of the Rhône’s right bank absorbing maximum sunshine whilst being protected from the cold winds. In short, it’s baking hot and is the first appellation to be harvested in the Northern Rhône.
It comes as no surprise that the wines, therefore, are almost black in colour and are some of the biggest and most robust in the whole of France, with the Syrah-heavy wines offering dark fruit character, red meat and liquorice. The Cornas of Domaine Dumien Serrette Patou follows suit and pulls no punches whatsoever in delivering that big meaty hit!
You can browse our current range here, all with a discount to make it a little easier for VW customers to taste through one of our favourite wine regions.