Renowned for its Côtes-du-Rhône, the Rhône valley wine region extends from Valence to Montélimar, and benefits from different terroirs that make all the richness of the vineyards. Let's discover in more detail the wine region of the Rhône valley.
History of the Rhône Valley vineyard
Carrefour Major Commerce, the Rhône valley has always been an essential communication axis. It is therefore logically that, from the 1st century BC, the Romans implanted the first feet of vines in this region.
The Rhône valley will quickly become a French wine region Renowned for its abundance and the quality of its wines.
However, the collapse of the Roman Empire almost put an end to Rhone wine crops. It is thanks to the hard work of monastic orders, during the Middle Ages, that the Rhône valley vineyard were able to be reborn from their ashes, and develop, to become the wine region we know today.
The path will not have been easy for Rhodanian vineyards, and they will have to face phylloxera in the 1860s. But that will not prevent them from becoming one of the first vintages of France to obtain an AOC, and to manufacture each year from Côtes-du-Rhône of exceptional exceptional .
The geography of the Rhône valley vineyard
The Rhône valley vineyard Extend 6 departments: the Ardèche, the Gard and the Loire on the side of the right bank, and the Drôme, the Rhône and the Vaucluse for the left bank. We therefore distinguish 2 zones from Viticulture in Rhône Valley.
The northern vineyards of the Rhône valley (Rhône Nord)
Extended on 4,700 hectares, the northern vineyard develops from Vienne to Valence. There is a granite soil, with very narrow and steep hills that impose the harvest by hand.
Little demanding, these vineyards take advantage of a temperate climate, with sufficient rains not to suffer from drought, and good sunshine thanks to the southwest and southeast exhibition.
The Côtes-du-Rhône of the northern part Give powerful wines, with notes of spices, pepper and copper, with good childcare potential.
The southern vineyards of the Rhône valley (Rhône Sud)
Extended on 71,000 hectares, the Southern vineyard of the Rhône valley develops from Avignon to Montélimar. Complex terroirs, between trays and hillsides, have diversified and rich terrains, which make it possible to grow different grape varieties.
If the sunshine of the Mediterranean climate is very good, the southern vineyards are also subject to the midday winds, and in particular the Mistral. Dry and cold, it is an asset during wet periods, but it can also be devastating during hot and dry summers.
The use of the various grape varieties makes it possible to obtain very varied wines, but the AOC Châteauneuf-du-Pape remains the reference of Wines of the southern vineyards of Côtes-du-Rhône.
Rhône valley grapes
The Rhône valley wine region It is so rich that winegrowers grow many varieties of grape varieties. The AOC Côtes-du-Rhône geographic area is thus authorized, for example, to cultivate no less than 21 grape varieties, of which here are the main ones.
The Red Rhône Valley Red Valley
We essentially recognize 3 Red grape varieties Main cultivated in the Rhône valley.
- The syrah : This emblematic black grape variety of the Côtes-du-Rhône northern, Syrah is the unique grape of the roasted coast, Hermitage, Saint-Joseph, Cornas, and Crozes-Hermitage. He is recognized by spice and violet notes, which allow him to produce very great wines;
- the black grenache : majority on southern vineyards, this red grape variety is the basis of many red wines and pink wines. It makes it possible to produce dense, fleshy and aromatic wines, with aromas of red fruits and chocolate;
- the Mourvèdre : This red grape variety gives a rough and powerful, but warm wine, with notes of black fruit and spices.
The white grape varieties of the Rhône valley
Again, 3 White grape varieties are particularly distinguished in the vineyards of the Rhône valley.
- The Marsanne : this white grape variety gives a powerful white wine, with floral notes and hazelnut aromas;
- The Roussanne : often used in assembly with La Marsanne, La Roussanne is a white grape that offers wines with complex and fine floral aromas, of great elegance;
- the White Viognier : cultivated only for the Côtes-du-Rhône of the northern part, this white grape is renowned for its roundness and its delicacy, as well as its aromas of yellow fruits, spices and dried fruit.
The appellations of the Rhône Valley
More than 30 appellations are recognized in the Rhône valley, all distributed according to the viticulture region.
- The names of controlled origin of the southern Rhône valley are 17. There are, in particular, theAOC Châteauneuf-du-Pape, I'AOC TAVEL, I'Gigondas AOC…
- The names of the northern Rhône valley are 12. There are, among other things, theAOC Côte-Rôtie, I'AOC Saint-Joseph, I'AOC Condrieu, I'AOC Château-Grillet, I'AOC Clairette de Die…
There are also 2 Regional appellations of the Rhône Valley (Côtes-du-Rhône and Côtes-du-Rhône Villages), as well as 2 names of natural mild wines (Rasteau and Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise).
Worthy of the great classified wines of Bordeaux, the wines of Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage make the reputation of the Rhône valley. But they are not the only ones, and this Wine Region is to be discovered absolutely by all wine lovers.