We’re shining on the spotlight on the Rhône valley this week. It’s a region that the buyers love to drink and that tends to result in a comprehensive range of listings!
It’s a wonder of a region and we love nothing more than promoting it and every given opportunity, so explore the below and click here for a few deals.
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.
Vacqueyras is the place to go for reds (and some tasty whites too) with freshness and finesse. The wines are rich and robust too, even deeply coloured, and have a great ability to age, but in their youth they show a light and fresh cherry fruit aromas with mineral tones.
As they evolve through age they take on much more serious and savoury characteristics like leather and smoke, making them a great match for barbecued meat.
Plan de Dieu (Côtes du Rhône Villages)
Translated into English as ‘God’s Plain’, this is probably a reference to way back in history where this area was a vast forest and scrubland where bandits roamed in search of travellers to rob, leaving the latter’s fate in the hands of God!
Since those lawless days, the area has been planted with a mass of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre vines that produce rich, dense and dark red wines thanks to the high temperatures and clay soils. The wines from Plan de Dieu also have a unique wild herb character that they absorb from the surrounding wild herbs themselves.
One of the most famous regions within the Rhône thanks to its location at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail, an ancient mass of limestone peaks that decorate the skyline.
This chain of mountains offers a bed of limestone-rich soils to Gigondas that contribute to elegant but intense bright cherry notes in red wines with delicate but assured structure. Although red wine is the focus in Gigondas, its rosé can be very interesting too.
Being known as ‘the most beautiful village in France’ is quite fitting for Seguret as its wines are some of the prettiest too. It’s hard work navigating by foot the narrow lanes cut into steep slopes, but 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.
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.
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.
Across the Rhône on the left bank sits Crozes-Hermitage. This is the largest appellation in the north and is the little brother of the smaller and much more prestigious Hermitage appellation.
But that’s not to say it’s to be deemed lesser. Crozes reds are as elegant and more affordable than those of Hermitage, and are way more affordable too, not a detail to be overlooked!
Don’t forget to browse the range here and take the journey through the Rhône yourself the proper