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Southern Rhone

Southern Rhone

The Southern Rhône is dominated by two contrasting appellations: Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Côtes-du-Rhône.  The former is weighty and expensive, an esoteric blend of up to 13 grapes that is amongst the most famous and finest wines in the world (however spurious its papal connections).  The latter is a vast area of 40,000ha where cheerful everyday wine is pumped out for the masses.

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    • France
    • Southern Rhone
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    • Origin
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    This is a full and voluptuous wine packed full of richness. Herbs and spices show on the nose intermingled with ripe black raspberries. Textured on th... Read More
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    An excellent example of the big, rich, and superbly balanced wines from this prestigious Southern Rhone region. The nose is full of deep, dark fruit a... Read More
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    Classic full bodied red wine which typifies the style of this prestigious Southern Rhone appellation. dark, ripe cassis and black stone fruit combine ... Read More
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    A lovely medium bodied expression from the Southern Rhone.  The nose is reminiscent of the surrounding garrigue (scrubland), with scents of ... Read More
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    Typical, straight forward Cote du Rhone with the classic fresh fruit character which is supported by peppery notes. Read More
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    Full bodied and intensely rich wine which exhibits aromas of violets and small red fruits. Full in the mouth with a spicy character which leads to a p... Read More
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    This is a cracking Côtes du Rhone. The aroma is crammed full of raspberry and strawberry fruit. On the palate the wine is spicier with firm structure... Read More
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    Ruby purple in colour with ground pepper, black currant, cherries and loamy soil aromatic undertones. It is a deeply full-bodied and powerful Gigondas... Read More
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    Dessert wine from the Southern Rhone that has a nose reminiscent of a citrus fruit conserve. The palate is rich and full with stone fruit flavour and ... Read More
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Their coexistence sums up the variety on offer in this large and important winemaking area, where whites, reds, rosés and vins doux naturels (fortified sweet wines) are all produced for both quantity and quality. Gigondas, Lirac and Côtes du Lubéron are other notable appellations.

Vines and Styles

The 13 grapes permitted in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and still all used by the Château de Beaucastel estate, are Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Counoise, Vaccarèse, Terret Noir, Muscardin (all red), Bourboulenc, Clairette, Roussanne, Picardin and Picpoul (all white).  Grenache will usually be dominant.  Elsewhere in the district Carignan, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Viognier, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, Chardonnay, Aligoté, Ugni Blanc and Vermentino all crop up as well.

It is impossible to generalise about such a large and diverse district, but the top reds do not usually need to be aged for as long as those of the Northern Rhône and the whites should be drunk young.

Climate and Terroir

It has a Mediterranean climate, and the heat is ideal for some of the grapes, but vineyards rise to 450m above sea level where the cooler conditions are more suited to others.  Hence the vast array of vines that are cultivated on land that is much flatter than the steep slopes of the Northern Rhône.  Summers are dry, winters are wet and cold, and soils are very varied.

Key Vintages

At the turn of the century - 2001, 2000 and 1999 - the Southern Rhône was producing superb wines and since then (with the exception of the poor 2002) the vintages have been very good.  1990 and 1989 were excellent years.

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