Wine Tours of
the RHÔNE region FRANCE

 

The Rhône is really two separate wine tours. In the North you have the area between the towns of Vienne and Valence defined by the wine areas of Condrieu and St-Péray. It is here the dominant grape is Syrah which produces the deep, dark long-living reds such as Hermitage and Côte Rôtie. Also there are really fine whites made from Viognier in Condrieu, plus some well-structured wines from Marsanne and Roussanne grapes.

Moving south along the valley, you encounter a 54 kilometre "no vines-land" of nuclear power stations, wind generators, factories and fruit trees but hardly a vineyard.

The southern Rhône vineyards start round Donzere and spread out over the Rhône delta to the area around Avignon. Here the Grenache Noir is the supreme grape and the quality appellations of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and Vacqueyras are well known, along with other areas producing wines from up to 23 grape varieties.

In the south the bulk of the grapes are processed by grower cooperatives hence they are a good starting point for your southern Rhône wine tour.

ONE DAY/ONE STOP Côtes du Rhône Experience

 

If you are limited for time then a visit to a local vignerons cooperative is one of the best ways to experience the wine of the area. They generally have an extensive range both in styles and quality and the modern cave cooperative will be able to offer you everything from bulk by the litre vin du table wines up to selected reserve wines that reflect the winemakers skills. We selected Les Vignerons du Castellas.
 

Cave Visit - Les Vignerons du Castellas

 

 

 

Contact details
Les Vignerons du Castellas
Avenue de Signargues, 30650 ROCHEFORT, France
Tel: 04 90 26 62 66 Fax; 04 90 26 62 64
Website: www.vignerons-castelas.com

A winery cooperative of 77 growers spread over 550 hectares with the vineyard split into:
30 ha of A.O.C. White Côtes du Rhône; 340 ha of A.O.C. Rosé and Red Côtes du Rhône; 189 ha of A.O.C. Red Côtes du Rhône Villages The winery is constantly undergoing updating to reflect the latest techniques in vinification, and this is reflected in their wines, especially the white wines.

They presently produce a range of 8 classic styles (3 white, 21 rose and 4 reds), a reserve range of 3 styles (2 white & 1 red) plus 3 varietal Vins du Pays (Syrah Rouge, Syrah Rose, Viognier Blanc). They generously allowed us to sample the whole range and we have reviewed several but they were all excellent styles and great value.

 

  Reviewed

Les Vignerons du Castellas Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2007 13% alc. 4.80€

From selected parcels the blend was Grenache Blanc and Roussanne with low-temperature fermentation and aging on the lees for 8 months. The result was a wine with a bright golden robe and delightful aromas of peaches and pears and a little citrus. On the palate it was very pleasant with more fruit flavours of peaches, almonds and lichees with a lively refreshing citrus finish. The final lingering taste was pleasant reflecting excellent balance and length. This wine took me by surprise -a exceptional wine full of class and style - magnificent!

 

Les Vignerons du Castellas Côtes du Rhône Villages Rouge - Signargues 2006 13.5% alc. 6.30€
From the reserve range, a wine made from parcels of Vieilles Vignes, old vines, on the single soils Villafranchiennes Terraces of Signargues. Blend is 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 10% Carignan. The low yield of the grapes from these old vines has resulted in a wine with concentrated colour and flavours. In the glass a deep garnet colour with flashes of cherry while on the nose ripe berry fruit like blackcurrants. On the palate the taste is complex and long with excellent structure and balance. Flavours of ripe fruit, leather and spices, with smooth tannins that leave a long lingering aftertaste. This is an excellent Rhone Rouge wine and difficult to better! A steal at the price.

 

ONE DAY Wine Tour of Southern Rhône including Châteauneuf-du-Pape - Gigondas - Vacqueyras - Côtes du Rhône

 

Châteauneuf-du-Pape 


 
 
Every year thousands of wine lovers, expert and amateur, come to this world-renowned medieval village and appellation to discover one of the best known French vineyards. The appellation, which surrounds the village, consists of only 3200 hectares, however, the small village has 12 restaurants and a number of the 100 caves and cellars are in walking distance. So you can park your car and discover on foot the Châteauneuf-du-Pape red and white wines.

 

We start our day with a coffee in the village - time to plan the day's activities!


Visit 1 - Domaine DURIEU

 


 

Just 40 metres from our coffee spot we find the Village cave of Domaine Durieu.
A vineyard of total 94 hectares with a number of small parcels in several areas including Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Côtes du Rhône Villages - Plan de Dieu, and Côtes du Ventoux. Contact details
Domaine Durieu
10,Ave Baron le Roy, CHATEAUNEUF du PAPE, France
Tel: 04 90 83 70 86 Fax: 04 90 37 28 14
Email: domaine-durieu@hotmail.com
Website: www.domaine-durieu.com



Reviewed

 

Domaine Durieu Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2007 13% alc. 18.00€
A blend of 60% Roussanne, 28% Grenache Blanc, 12% Bourboulenc. On the nose, citrus and mineral aromas while on the palate, pleasant tones of honey, stone fruits such as peaches and apricots. Complex finish with good depth and length.

 

Domaine Durieu Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve Lucile Avril 2005 15% alc. 21.00€
From selected fruit being 90% Grenache Noir, 10% Syrah. Nose of fresh ripe fruit. On the palate, ripe cherries with smooth tannins and a long, complex finish. A big meaty wine and perfect with roast meat, game or dark chocolate.


 

Visit 2 - Domaine Mathieu


 
On the edge of the village is the Domaine Mathieu which has a small 24 hectare vineyard of 20 hectares Châteauneuf-du-Pape and 4 hectares Côtes du Rhône. They make the traditional Châteauneuf-du-Pape blend of up to 13 approved grape varieties in a traditional winery.

They presently produce a range of 2 traditional styles (1 white and 1 red), and a reserve range of 2 styles and a number of years from 2004 to 2007 (1 white & 2 red). They generously allowed us to sample the whole range and we have reviewed several but they were all excellent styles and great value. Contact details
Domaine Mathieu
Route de Courthézon, 84230 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE, France
Tel: 04 90 83 72 09 Fax: 04 90 83 50 55
Website: www.domaine-mathieu.com
e-mail: dnemathieu@aol.com

Reviewed



Domaine Mathieu Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 200713.5% alc. 15.50€
A blend of 45% Grenache Blanc, 45% Clairette, 5% Picpoul, 5% Bourboulenc from 20- to 40-year-old vines. A pleasant nose of floral and fruit aromas. On the palate, fresh figs, melons and honey with minerality. Light refreshing acid, complex structure and a pleasant lingering finish. A very good wine with poultry and cream, and fish, dishes.

 

Domaine Mathieu Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge2005 14% alc. 15.50€
A Châteauneuf-du-Pape with a majority of Grenache Noir. 18 months in old oak, filtered to produce a bright cherry robe. A pleasant nose with ripe fruit tones on the palate with good tannin and acid structure so that it could be drunk now or cellared for up to 20 years.

 

Domaine Mathieu Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge Marquis Anselme Mathieu 2005 14% alc. 23.00€
Grapes harvested from old vines planted in 1890 and 1892 with a yield of 25 hl/ha - a majority of Grenache Noir with up to 13 other varieties. A nose of old leather, while the palate revelled in tones of blackberries, tobacco, and pepper. A very mature wine with supple tannins and a complex structure - a great Châteauneuf-du-Pape style


 

Domaine Mathieu Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge Vin di Felibre 2004 14% alc. 35.00€
A different Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge, havbeing a majority of Mourvèdre grapes. Aged in young small oak barrels. A deep dark red colour with a nose of plums, blackcurrants and cherries. On the palate full-bodied with loads of spices, cinnamon, ripe red fruit and smooth tanins. An excellent wine that could be drunk now, or cellared for up to 10 years.


 

Visit 3 - Distillerie A. Blachere


 


Contact details
Distillerie A. Blachere
Route de'Avignon, 84230 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE, France

Tel: 04 90 83 53 81 Fax 04 90 83 53 80
E-mail: info@distillerie-a-blachere.co

Reviewed

 

Vieux Marc de Châteauneuf-du-Pape 43% 39.00€ Distilled from Grenache wine and matured in old oak casks for 15 years. A deep golden colour with aromas of old leather and oak while on the palate delightful tones of spices such as cinnamon and cloves with ripe fruit. The taste is smooth with a long lingering finish. Very much like a good Cognac. A quality brandy at an excellent price.

 

 

Lunch stop - Gigondas Village

 


 
 
 
 
 
We travelled to the hillside village of Gigondas for lunch. Time to sit under the spreading plane trees reflecting on the morning, enjoy a delightful Cotes du Rhône Rose, along with the Plat du Jour -Plate of Day and to plan the afternoon's activities!
 

Gigondas Appellation
 

 
 
 
 
The Gigondas appellation status was granted in 1971 to 1,127 hectares of land surrounding the compact attractive hillside village. The appellation allows only red and rose wines and only consisting of a blend with a majority of Grenache, along with lesser amounts of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. The wines have always had a reputation for their warmth, reflecting the ideal location and soils.
 

Visit 4 - Domaine des Tourelles

 
 
 
 
Roger Cuillerat grows the grapes and makes the wine from a 9-hectare vineyard round the village. A large portion of the vineyard is old vines, between 40 and 85 years old, and they crop lightly at 28 to 32hectolitres/hectare, resulting in wines with concentrated flavours. Contact details
Domaine des Tourelles
Roger CUILLERAT - owner & winemaker
GIGONDAS, France
Website: www.domaine-des-tourelles.fr
E-mail: domaine-des-tourelles@wanadoo.fr


 
Reviewed

 

 

 

 

Domaine des Tourelles Gigondas 200514.5% alc. 10.50€
A Gigondas Appellation blend from 80% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre/Cinsault that spent 12 months in old wooden casks before light filtering and bottling. In the glass the wine is bright with deep cherry and red flashes. On the nose, the blend gives complex aromas of spices, liquorice and tobacco with ripe red fruit. On the palate, the complex taste continues with smooth tannins and a great structure. An excellent Gigondas example that can be enjoyed now or cellared for up to 5 years. Perfect with red meats, game and cheeses.

Vacqueyras Appellation

 

 
 
 
 
 
Vacqueyras lies under the jagged Montmirail escarpment in the southern Rhône with a pleasant village and 1,690 hectares of broken limestone and gravel soils. The area was granted appellation status in 1990 based on a reputation for producing quality red, rose and white wines.
 

Visit 5 - Domaine de Montvac

 
Domaine de Montvac is a family-owned vineyard of 24 hectares with portions in both the Vacqueyras and Gigondas Appellations. Hence the wine tourist can sample wines from both appellations, plus Côtes du Rhône. The modern attractive cellar is on the D977 approaching the village of Vacqueyras and there is excellent parking. We were made most welcome and were pleased to be able to sample the whole Vacqueyras red range and a wonderful white. This is a top Rhône winery going places -watch this space!

 

Contact details
Domaine de Montvac
Cécile Dussette - winemaker/owner
84190 VACQUEYRAS, France
Tel: 04 90 65 85 51 Fax: 04 90 65 82 38
Website: www.domaine-de-montvac.com
E-mail: dusserre@domaine-de-montvac.com


Reviewed

Domaine de Montvac Vacqueyras A.O.C. Blanc 2007 14.5% alc. 12.00€
This exceptional wine is always going to be in short supply as it is only made from a 1 hectare parcel of 30% Roussanne, 30% Clairette, 20% Viognier, 20% Bourboulenc. The grapes are harvested together, vinified and racked into small oak barrels with lees stirring where it is left for 5 to 8 months. The result is a wine with a light golden hue and a nose of vanilla and honeysuckle. On the palate it is delicious with complex array of ripe tropical fruits and wild flowers. Well-balanced with just enough complexity and body to be perfect for fish, cream chicken dishes, and purely as an aperitif where it can shine in all its glory. This is a top French white wine!

 

Domaine de Montvac Vacqueyras A.O.C. Rouge 2005 14% alc. 8.30€
70% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre this blend of ripe grapes, carefully vinified and produced to passion has a deep red colour in the glass with a nose of ripe plums, spices and liquorice. The palate is full of fruit flavours with smooth tannins. This is a very good Rhône red and excellent value.

Domaine de Montvac Vacqueyras A.O.C. VINCILA 2005 14% alc. 15.00€
The first of two exceptional wines, the Vincila is a 60% Grenache, 40% Syrah blend from old vines, the best soils and the highest quality ripe fruit - a winning combination especially when the wine is carefully vinified and matured to perfection. A nose of Syrah spices, old leather and liquorice from a deep red wine that dances in the glass. On the palate be prepared for a complex array of flavours and a wonderful balance of smooth tannins and moorish tastes. Drink now, but in 5 years time it will be outstanding.

 

Domaine de Montvac Vacqueyras A.O.C. VARIATION 2005 15% alc. 15.00€
At 92% Grenache, 6% Syrah this wine is a showcase for just how wonderful ripe-fruit Grenache can be when it comes from very old low-yield vines with excellent vineyard management and minimal interference in the winery. Deep red colours in the glass with a complex nose of old leather, liquorice and tobacco. On the palate complex and long with a delightful lingering after-taste. This is a Rhône red that would compare with the best from Burgundy - exceptional!

 

 


 


2017 Rhône Package tour!!
WINE TOURS of the RHÔNE - Selected Domaines of the Southern Rhone (3 nights) 

For more information click here:
www.rhonewineholidays.com