French Wine 101: The Rhône Valley

by tarynlachter

In this week’s feature of French wines, we’ll be looking at the Rhône Valley in Southern France which exists along the Rhône River.

The second-largest wine region in France, the Rhône Valley is split into two sections, Northern and Southern Rhône.

Altogether, there are about 30 different appellations between the two areas, totaling over 71,000 hectares of vineyard, producing more than 400 million bottles of wine a year. 

In this week’s feature of French wines, we’ll be looking at the Rhône Valley in Southern France which exists along the Rhône River.

The second-largest wine region in France, the Rhône Valley is split into two sections, Northern and Southern Rhône. Altogether, there are about 30 different appellations between the two areas, totaling over 71,000 hectares of vineyard, producing more than 400 million bottles of wine a year. 

This region benefits greatly from a Mediterranean climate with long, warm summers and very mild winters. In the Southern Rhone, there is the Mistral Wind, a strong, cold wind that blows through and keeps the grapes dry. Because of the moisture in a Mediterranean climate, the dryness is crucial to keeping the grapes protected from fungi that grow in moist environments. 

A defining appellation of the Rhône Valley is Châteauneuf-du-Pape, an exclusive region in Southern Rhône. The name literally translates to “the Pope’s new castle” because of Pope Clement V’s relocation to the town of Avignon in 1308. It’s said that the subsequent popes were quite fond of Burgundy wines and did quite a lot to improve the winemaking in the area. While the reds are more widely known from this region, both reds and whites are produced here, using up to 13 different grapes

Northern and Southern Rhône differ in the grapes that are grown and the wines they produce. In the North, Syrah is the gold star for red wines while Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne are the main grapes for white wines. In fact, there are even blends made of both Syrah and  Viognier that you can only find here. Southern Rhône focuses more on red blends, primarily made from Grenache, especially in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. 

Although they are technically the same region, wines made in the north and south of the Rhône Valley are truly different. The Syrah of Northern Rhône is very aromatic and deep in color with a peppery effect. Grenache and Southern Rhône reds are fruity and warm with softer, well-rounded palates. The Northern Viognier is also aromatic and very full-bodied, while the Southern Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc is summery, light, and typically oak-aged. 

The Rhône Valley is one of France’s greatest achievements in terms of winemaking and wine production. The range of wines is absolutely beautiful and quite wide in variety, which means there is something for just about every occasion and every drinker! 

 



FEATURED EVENTS

New York Wine Events

October 23, 2021

A once-in-a-lifetime experience

Piedmont Italy: Barolo and Barbaresco tour

Oct 23 – 30, 2021
6 nights, 7 days
Milan, Barolo, Alba, and Turin

RESERVE NOW
New York Wine Events

September 23, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Kotti Berliner – Food & Wine Pairing

Join us for a Virtual Food & Wine Pairing with Brooklyn’s Kotti Berliner. Explore delicious döner kebabs paired with wine. Meet Kotti founder, Erkan Emre.

RSVP FOR FREE
New York Wine Events

September 16, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Broadbent Selections – Portugal

Join us for a Virtual Tasting with one of America’s leading importers of high-quality Portuguese wines.

RSVP FOR FREE
New York Wine Events

September 2, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Cusumano Winery – Sicily, Italy

Join us for a Virtual Tasting with the maker of the #1 selling Sicilian wine in the U.S.

RSVP FOR FREE
New York Wine Events

August 26, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Kunde Family Winery

Join us for a Virtual Tasting. The Kunde family has farmed an 1,850-acre estate in Sonoma Valley for 100 years.

RSVP FOR FREE
New York Wine Events

August 19, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards

Join us for a Virtual Tasting. Great wine starts in the vineyard.

RSVP FOR FREE
New York Wine Events

August 12, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Dutcher Crossing Winery

Join us for a Virtual Tasting. Distinctive and hand-crafted wines produced from award-winning vineyards.

RSVP FOR FREE
New York Wine Events

June 12, 2020

At Your Home

RGNY At-Home Blending Session

Be your own winemaker for a day — guided by a professional on Zoom video!

PURCHASE KIT & ZOOM TICKET
New York Wine Events

May 29, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Virtual Wine & Pizza Tasting with Jamesport Vineyards

What’s better than great wine and artisanal pizza?

RSVP FOR FREE
New York Wine Events

May 28, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Foxen Winery & Vineyard Virtual Tasting

Experience the magic of Santa Barbara wine.

RSVP FOR FREE
New York Wine Events

May 28, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Foxen Winery & Vineyard Virtual Tasting

Experience the magic of Santa Barbara wine.

RSVP FOR FREE
New York Wine Events

May 21, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Chateau Montelena Winery Virtual Tasting

This tasting will be epic.

RSVP FOR FREE
New York Wine Events

May 19, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Ridge Vineyards Virtual Tasting – Monte Bello winery

The New York Times described Ridge Monte Bello as “America’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon.”

RSVP FOR FREE
New York Wine Events

May 18, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Tenuta di Lilliano Virtual Tasting

Very special tasting. Don’t miss it!

RSVP FOR FREE
New York Wine Events

May 15, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Pedroncelli Winery Virtual Tasting

Four Generations of Family Pride at Pedroncelli Winery, since 1927

RSVP FOR FREE
New York Wine Events

May 14, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Provence Rosé Group Virtual Tasting

The best rosé in the world comes from Provence.

RSVP FOR FREE
New York Wine Events

May 13, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

St. Francis Winery Virtual Tasting

Voted “#1 in America” in 2013 and 2015 by Open Table customers.

RSVP FOR FREE
New York Wine Events

May 12, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Ridge Vineyards Virtual Tasting – Lytton Springs

The New York Times described Ridge’s Cabernet Sauvignon as America’s greatest.

RSVP FOR FREE
New York Wine Events

May 11, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Oak Farm Vineyards Virtual Tasting

Visit the famous wine-growing region of Lodi County, California – virtually!

RSVP FOR FREE
New York Wine Events

May 8, 2020

Live Online Zoom Broadcast

Goldschmidt Vineyards Virtual Tasting

Visit Sonoma County – virtually!

RSVP FOR FREE
New York Wine Events

April 18, 2020

Marlboro, NY

Wines & Bites!

Hudson Valley’s yummiest wine and food tasting event

GET TICKETS
New York Wine Events

March 7, 2020

New York’s Premier Winter Wine Event

NYC Winter Wine and Food Festival

Enjoy a winter getaway without even leaving the city.

GET TICKETS
New York Wine Events

January 19, 2020

Riverhead, NY

RG|NY Blending Session

Join RG|NY winemaker Lilia Perez, for a unique tasting and blending session.

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

December 14, 2019

Ulster & Orange Counties, NY

Wreath Fineries at the Wineries

Don’t miss the ultimate holiday wine tasting event in the Hudson Valley. Sales end Thursday, Dec 12 at 11:59pm!

PURCHASE TICKETS
New York Wine Events

November 14, 2019

New York, NY

Around The World In 10 Wines

Experience a global tasting in 2 hours with award-winning artisan cheese and charcuterie

PURCHASE TICKETS

RELATED WINE BLOGS

Thursday, June 17th, 2021

French Wine 101: The Loire Valley
The Loire Valley happens to be one of the largest wine regions in all of France and is such an abundant growing area that it’s known as the “Garden of France.” At almost 190 miles long, the Loire Valley region starts just outside of Paris and runs along the Loire River down to Orleans and - Read More
Read more...

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021

French Wine 101: The Rhône Valley
In this week’s feature of French wines, we’ll be looking at the Rhône Valley in Southern France which exists along the Rhône River. The second-largest wine region in France, the Rhône Valley is split into two sections, Northern and Southern Rhône. Altogether, there are about 30 different appellations between the two areas, totaling over 71,000 - Read More
Read more...

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

French Wine 101: The Alsace Region
Ah, France. The Mother Land of winemaking, the queen of vino. We stan French wines.  The Old World has so much to offer in the way of wine, and it’s not always because of the flavor or the tastes. There is tradition and history steeped into everything they do which provides a unique richness to - Read More
Read more...
LOAD MORE