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Rhone Wine Appellations

Northern Rhone

Tournon North
Unlike its Southern counterpart, the Northern Rhone wine region is characterised by a continental climate with harsh winters but warm summers. The impact of the minstral wind is massive, bringing colder air in from the Massif Central. The Northern Rhone is, as might therefore be expected, cooler than the southerh Rhone—meaning the mix of planted grape varieties and wine styles are slightly, but significantly, different.

Syrah is the only red grape variety permitted in red AOC wines from this sub-region. The grape, which is believed to have originated in or close to the Rhône region, is also widely known as Shiraz, its name in Australia and much of the English-speaking world, and has recently become very popular with consumers around the world. For wines bearing the Cornas AOC designation, Syrah must be used exclusively, whereas other reds from the northern Rhône sub-region may be blended with white wine grapes, either Viognier or Marsanne and Roussanne, depending on the appellation. However, while this is allowed by the AOC rules, blending with white grapes is only widely practiced for Côte-Rôtie.

Côte-Rôtie
Côte-Rôtie is a French wine Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in the northern Rhône wine region of France. The vineyards are located just south of Vienne in the communes of Saint-Cyr-sur-le-Rhône, Ampuis, and...
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Chateau-Grillet AOC
The heart of the Condrieu AOC is the Château-Grillet AOC as an enclave with its own AOC. It is an AOC owned by a single estate, a situation known as a monopole. There are several other monopole estates in France including Romanée-Conti, La...
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Condrieu
Viticulture in the area around Condrieu has existed since at least Roman times and it is possible that the area was first cultivated by the native Allobroges tribe. In the 18th century, Condrieu enjoyed a period of popularity as it gained access to the...
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Cornas
The name Cornas is Celtic for "burnt earth", and the first written sources mention wine in the region as early as 885. Both Louis XV and Cardinal Richelieu are said to have been admirers of the wine. Cornas became an official appellation in...
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Crozes-Hermitage AOC
In 1846 a panel of tasters commended the wine for its likeness to Hermitage wines. The appellation was officially defined in 1937, and was expanded in 1952. Crozes-Hermitage, along with the rest of northern Rhône has a continental climate that...
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Hermitage
According to legend, the Knight Gaspard de Stérimberg returned home wounded in 1224 from the Albigensian Crusade and was given permission by the Queen of France to build a small refuge to recover in, where he remained living as a hermit (ermite in...
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Saint-Joseph
Originally known as Vin de Mauves, mentioned in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, the wine from St.-Joseph was a favourite in the French court of Louis XII (1498-1515) who owned a vineyard in St.-Joseph known as Clos de Tournon. In 1668 the first...
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Saint-Péray
Plinius mentions the wine of Saint-Péray in his natural history, and Napoleon Bonaparte is to have said that he, when he was a young cadet in Valence, had his first experience of wine, drinking Saint-Péray. In the wines prime in the 19th...
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Southern Rhone

Chateauneuf Vineyard
The southern Rhône sub-region has a more Mediterranean climate with milder winters and hot summers. Drought can be a problem in the area, but limited irrigation is permitted. The differing terroirs, together with the rugged landscape which partly protects the valleys from the Mistral, produce microclimates which give rise to a wide diversity of wines. A feature of the cultivation of the region is the use of large pebbles around the bases of the vines to absorb the heat of the sun during the day to keep the vines warm at night when, due to the cloudless skies, there is often a significant drop in temperature.

The southern Rhône's most famous red wine is Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a blend containing up to 13 varieties of wine grapes, both red and white, as permitted by the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC rules. Other nearby AOC regions including Coteaux du Tricastin AOC, Côtes du Ventoux AOC, Côtes du Vivarais AOC, Lirac AOC, Tavel AOC and Vacqueyras AOC may contain even more varieties in the blend. Gigondas AOC, on the other hand, is predominantly made from Grenache Noir has a more restricted set of permitted grapes. Depending on the specific AOC rules, grapes blended into southern Rhône reds may include Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan and Cinsault. 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. The right bank reds are slightly lighter and fruitier

Beaumes de Venise
Nearly two thousand years ago, Pliny the Elder wrote in his Natural History: "The Muscat grape has been grown for a long time in Beaumes and its wine is remarkable". In 1248, St. Louis took supplies of it with him on his 7th Crusade, and during...
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Côtes du Rhône
Côtes du Rhône are the basic AOC wines of the Rhône region, and exist as red, white and rosé wines, generally dominated by Grenache (reds and rosés) or Grenache blanc (whites). Wines have been produced in the region...
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Côtes du Vivarais
Wines have been produced in the region for over 2,000 years. In the region extending from the Rhône valley to the Cévennes and the Ardèche mountains - both foothills of the Massif Central - vines were cultivated by the Helvians, an...
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Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Châteauneuf-du-Pape roughly translates to "The Pope's new castle" and, indeed, the history of this appellation is firmly entwined with papal history. In 1308, Pope Clement V, former Archbishop of Bordeaux, relocated the papacy to the town...
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Coteaux du Tricastin
According to archeological finds, particularly the remains of the largest Roman wine villa in Donzère dating from the first century B.E., wine has been produced in the region since the antiquity. Tricastin wines were mentioned in the writings of...
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Gigondas
The name of the appellation is of roman origin. Jocunditas means great pleasure and enjoyment in Latin with the town being founded as a recreational site for the soldiers from the roman Second Legion. The finding of a Bacchus-head indicates that wine was...
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Tavel
The wine of Tavel is historically famous. Philip IV is supposed to have travelled through Tavel on one of his tours of the kingdom. He was reportedly offered a glass, which he emptied without getting off his horse and afterwards proclaimed Tavel the only...
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Vacqueyras
Wine has been produced in this area since the 1400s; however, records are sparse, reduced to mentioning large vineyards and a decree on how to keep hungry goats away from the grapes. Located only a few kilometres south of Gigondas, Vacqueyras shares...
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