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Rhône Valley

The wines of the Rhône are predominantly red and the weather is hot but it shares with the Loire, that other great winemaking valley, the capacity for creating remarkable wines along its long and varied course.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Hermitage are celebrated names in the world of fine wine...

The wines of the Rhône are predominantly red and the weather is hot but it shares with the Loire, that other great winemaking valley, the capacity for creating remarkable wines along its long and varied course.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Hermitage are celebrated names in the world of fine wine...

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, but though both hail from this valley their styles are distinct. For the Rhône has two separate personalities that are neatly divided into the North and the South.

Styles of Wine

The Northern Rhône is the spiritual home of Syrah, known as Shiraz throughout the New World, and accounts for a mere five per cent of the valley's wine production.  Quality certainly replaces quantity and the red wines are sumptuous, rich, tannic and perfect for ageing.  They are sometimes blended with Viognier for added perfume, and this grape on its own can make excellent whites.

The Southern Rhône is far larger in area and more diverse in its styles.  The Côtes-du-Rhône AOC is vast and important for volume and the wines are approachable and fruity.  Grenache holds sway over Châteauneuf-du-Pape, though it can lawfully be blended with 12 other grapes, and produces alcoholic, enticing wines with the frequent potential for greatness.  Crisp, fruity whites are also produced.

Key Vines

Syrah is the only red grape allowed in the Northern Rhône Valley with Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne as the whites.

The South is very different.  Grenache is the pre-eminent red but Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan and Mourvèdre have significant roles to play and while others are allowed, they are generally of less importance.  Grenache Blanc is the leading white.

Climate and Terroir

To put it simply, the North is Continental and the South is Mediterranean.  To be more specific, the northern vineyards cling to steep slopes and actively seek out the sun whilst those in the south are totally exposed in wide and flat fields.  Yet the Rhône Valley is a very large region and for more information the districts and appellations must be looked into.

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  1. Condrieu Pegas Luminis, Domaine Louis Cheze

    Condrieu Pegas Luminis, Domaine Louis Cheze, 2013 75cl

    Made in only small quantities this Rhone Valley white achieves great balance between fruit, minerality and it's naturally floral character. Retaining a fresh flavour, it has also taken on the flavour of the oak-aging, with only about 1/8 of it having seen

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  2. Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Chateau la Nerthe

    Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Chateau la Nerthe, 2014 75cl

    Delightful aromas of flowers and granny smith apples are joined on the palate by minerality and a slight saltiness. Full in the mouth with a strong finish this has great complexity and elegance.

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  3. Château Val Joanis Blanc, Côtes du Lubéron

    Château Val Joanis Blanc, Côtes du Lubéron, 2014 75cl

    Was £12.95

    This excellent example of a Southern Rhone blend contains traditional varieties Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, and Ugni Blanc. The nose is quite floral with notes of peach. The palate is fresh and clean with a pear like character.

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  4. Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe

    Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe, 2008 75cl

    Very grippy style, with lots of sweet, spicy tobacco, braised chestnut notes weaving through a core of dark currant and fig fruit. There's a nice twinge of lavender on the structured finish.

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  5. Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Château la Nerthe

    Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Château la Nerthe, 2009 75cl

    An elegant wine with a silky texture of raspberries and plums. This 2009 vintage is just about starting to open up. Its full bodied character is rich and seductive and is one to watch evolve over the next few years.

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  6. Gigondas, Cuvée Prestige Domaine Grand Romane

    Gigondas, Cuvée Prestige Domaine Grand Romane, 2012 75cl

    Ruby purple in colour with ground pepper, black currant, cherries and loamy soil aromatic undertones. It is a deeply full-bodied and powerful Gigondas.

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  7. Arbouse Jean-Henri Fabre, Massif d'Uchaux Cotes du Rhone

    Arbouse Jean-Henri Fabre, Massif d'Uchaux Cotes du Rhone, 2014 75cl

    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 that has a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. A very well made wine.

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  8. Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Télégramme F D Brunier

    Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Télégramme F D Brunier, 2014 75cl

    This is a deep, rich, luscious wine which is soft and plummy on the palate and exhibits hints of spice and leather. The taninns are ripe but fairly gentle and the finish is long and complex. 

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  9. Cotes du Rhone Villages, Plan de Dieu, Frederick Reverdy

    Côtes du Rhône Villages, Plan de Dieu, Frederick Reverdy, 2014 75cl

    A lovely medium bodied expression from the Southern Rhone.  The nose is reminiscent of the surrounding garrigue (scrubland), with scents of thyme and bay laurel. These aromas continue on to the palate and are joined by deep black fruits.

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  10. Crozes-Hermitage, Frederick Reverdy, 2013

    Crozes-Hermitage, Frederick Reverdy, 2014 75cl

    This full bodied, Syrah dominated wine is full  of concentrated black fruit aromas as well as hints of spice and after a few years bottle aging will develop a leathery, gamey character. The tannins are firm but balanced and the finish persistent and satisfying.

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  11. Vacqueyras, Domaine Grandy, 2014

    Vacqueyras, Domaine Grandy, 2014 75cl

    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 powerfull finish. Given a couple of years of bottle aging this wine will develop aromas of liquorice, woodland and pepper.   

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  12. Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Galets de la Berthaude

    Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Galets de la Berthaude, 2015 75cl

    Classic full bodied red wine which typifies the style of this prestigious Southern Rhone appellation. dark, ripe cassis and black stone fruit combine exquisitely with notes of smoke, leather and forest floor to give this wine penetrating depth and complexity.

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