The Rhone Region


RHÔNE – the home of Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Côtes du Rhône, a name known to wine lovers the world over. Be it the full-bodied red wines from Syrah such as Hermitage from the north, or from the south wines in which Grenache is supreme and is famed for Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Take in the region's food and cuisine,known for its gastronomic excellence, add on the famous Côtes du Rhône wine road and you have a winning combination for a wine and food tour. 




The region - RHÔNE - region of TWO HALVES!

The AOC Côtes du Rhône (Rhône Valley) region is a narrow area region which stretches 200 km from Vienne in the north and extends on both banks of the Rhône river to Avignon in the south, and from the foothills of the Massif Central in the west to the fore-slopes of the Vaucluse and Luberon mountains east of the town of Orange. 171 communes in the six French departments are concerned with production from the 83,839 hectares of vineyard. The average yield is 54 hectolitres per hectare. All wines must have a minimum alcohol content of 11%. The average annual production is around 3.3 million hectolitres, 419 million bottles, produced by 6,000 concerns including 5,300 growers, 875 private producers, 70 co-operative wineries, and 20 merchant/producers and blenders, making it the second largest single appellation region in the world.

Over 75% of Côtes du Rhône wines are red, in which the range of grape varieties grown is very much influenced by the terroir and climatic conditions - the soil types have influenced the grape varieties cultivated. Each different variety lends its own character, and a blend of several grape varieties will result in well-balanced, finely tuned wines. In the north Grenache is dominant, however Syrah must be used for certain appellation wines with Carignan for red wine making up the rest of the red wines. For white wines, Côtes du Rhône is the home of Viognier, used largely in the north. Clairette is the dominant white wine grape followed by Ugni Blanc and Grenache Blanc.


The Rhône should be viewed as consisting of two fairly distinct viticultural and geographic regions.






 In the north of the Côtes du Rhône area, from Vienne to Valence, are the famous appellations Côte Rôtie, Condrieu - Château Grillet, Hermitage, Crozes Hermitage, and Cornas. Here the vines are cultivated on very steep slopes making the harvest extremely arduous as the grapes have to all be hand-picked. The northern Rhône is characterized by a continental climate with harsh winters but warm summers. Its climate is influenced by the mistral wind, which brings colder air from the Massif Central. The northern Rhône is therefore less warm than southern Rhône. The soil in the north tends to be granite with a mixture of shingle with clay and layered stones on the hillsides.


In the south of the Côtes du Rhône area, from Montélimar to Avignon, are the Gigondas, Châteauneuf du Pape, and Côtes du Ventoux appellations, containing 123 communes. The majority of these vineyards are on the eastern side of the Rhône between the river bank near the town of Orange, and the Vaucluse-Luberon chain of mountains. Here the soils tend to be limestone with the limestone-clay soils producing full-bodied wines, which are heavy and dense in colour, with a powerful bouquet. The drier, stony, soils produce more refined wines, renowned for their elegance, finesse and fruit content. 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.


What makes this a great area for wine and food lovers?


 The Rhône Valley and wine region forms the crossroads between Eastern Europe and the Atlantic, the Mediterranean Sea and northern France. In food and cuisine terms, it is also a centre point with Burgundy to the north and Provence to the south, hence there is a combination of northern and southern ingredients. Its rich and hearty food is very meat- and offal-oriented, with sausages of every variety, wonderful sauces and a fine selection of cheeses. Lyon is renowned as a gastronomic capital of France and the Lyon region is said have the highest rate of cafés per head in the whole of Europe, while at the other end of the scale there are more Michelin starred restaurants than in any other city. Traditionally a gourmand's region, Lyon and the Rhône valley boast a simple cuisine inspired by ancient folk wisdom that has been refined by some of the great masters of modern French cooking.

So loosen your belts and be prepared to wine and dine in style!

For more temptations Rhône FOOD and CUISINE ..


Lyon – Lyon is known for its sophisticated bars and restaurants - a great place to eat and drink.

Vienne- Vienne was one of Rome's most important wine ports and served as a halfway point between Italy and Northern Europe.

The Roman theatre in Orange - The Théâtre Antique d'Orange is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Pont du Gard- The Pont du Gard is an aqueduct in the south of France constructed by the Roman Empire.

Cathedrale Notre-Dame des Doms - First built in a pure Provencal Romanesque style in the 12th century, it was rebuilt in 1425.

Chateauneuf - 14th-century castle which because of its size and location dominates the region.

St Benezet Bridge (Pont d'Avignon) - The Pont d'Avignon, also known as the Pont St-Benezet, is a famous medieval bridge in the town of Avignon.

Cathedral of Notre Dame Le Puy (Cathédrale Le Puy-en-Velay) - The cathedral of Notre Dame Le Puy, which forms the highest point of the city.

Historical villages - off the beaten track the Rhône Valley has a number of villages untouched by time or tourism such as Charnay, Sceautres and Perouges. 


Unique Foods & Cuisine - - in the Rhône you will find a gourmand's delight!

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