Everything You Need To Know About Rhone Valley
With its rich history, stunning views, and unparalleled growing conditions, the Rhone Valley deserves its reputation as one of the most famous wine regions in the world. But just like any other wine region, it has its own unique set of rules and realities that could help or hinder your appreciation of the local wines. To make sure you get the most out of your visit to this magnificent wine-growing region, here are certain facts that you need to know about Rhone Valley.
Rhone Valley Region Overview
The Rhone Valley is a kind of huge region used for viticulture that is gaining appeal all the time. In fact, it is France’s second-largest appellation. The only place in the world with more vines is Bordeaux. Talking about the area that is used for vineyard plantation, well, it is almost 71,000 hectares or it can be even more. If we talk about the present situation, there are even more than 30 separate AOC appellations. In addition to this, Provence has 27,500 hectares of vineyards. When totaled, the Rhone Valley’s yearly wine output exceeds 400 million bottles! Talking about the Southern Rhone Valley, there are currently more than 23 different appellations and on the other side, if we see the Northern Rhone Valley, there are actually eight different appellations.
If you want to travel from the northern point to the southern point, in the Rhone Valley Region, it starts in Ampuis, about 30 kilometers south of Lyon, and finishes in Valance, about 90 kilometers south. About 90 kilometers south of Valance is Chateauneuf du Pape. The Southern Rhone encompasses a significantly broader region than the Northern Rhone. To put it in perspective, the Southern Rhone produces nearly all of the Rhone’s wines! If you see the sphere of Rhone Valley, the Cotes du Rhone has the status of being the biggest appellation. Chateau Grillet, with only 3.7 hectares of grapes, is the Rhone Valley’s tiniest appellation. In the Cotes du Rhone, the most recent AOCs were awarded appellation status.
Mostly Used Grapes For Making Rhone Valley Wine
In the Rhone Valley, there are 27 different grape varietals that can be planted. The production of wine involves about 5,000 distinct producers, domaines, and vineyards. In the Rhone Valley, red wine reigns supreme. Talking about the red wine that is only approved in the Northern Rhone Valley zone, well, it is Syrah.
When it comes to the Southern part of Rhone Valley, things grow in a very complicated manner. Here, more than 15 red wine varietals are authorized. Grenache, on the other hand, is the most common red wine vine in the Southern Rhone. In fact, red wines account for 79% of total Rhone Valley wine production. Rose wines account for 15% of the total, while white wines account for the remaining 6%.
If we compare the availability of white wine and red wine in the Rhone Valley, you might claim that 94% is red wine whereas the rest is white wine. Twelve distinct grape varietals are cultivated in the Rhone Valley to make white wines.
Roussanne, Marsanne, and Viognier are the three white wine grapes grown in the Northern zone of Rhone Valley. Well, things are much more convoluted in the Southern part of Rhone Valley where 15 distinct grape varietals are cultivated in numerous appellations. Due to the Rhone Valley’s vast expanse, the wide diversity of terroirs, and a large variety of grape varietals grown, it may be claimed that this region offers the most diverse range of wine types and price ranges of any major wine-growing region on the planet.
If we talk about the production figure, every year the production in this Rhone Valley goes touches 33,330,000 cases. In other words, we can say that this region produces almost 400M bottles every year. Most of them are marketed to thirsty wine connoisseurs in France.
If we talk about the market that comes after France, well, they are Germany, Canada, the United States of America, Belgium, and England. If we talk about the largest buyers of premium wines, well, they are the United States of America and England. People living here always look for costly bottles.
People have been cultivating grapes at Rhone Valley for 2000 years. The region’s earliest vineyards were planted by the ancient Greeks. It was during the 400 BC when such a thing occurred in the region of Marseilles. The ancient Romans also understood where the ideal grape planting areas were. It was at Vienne that is today known as Cote Rotie where they planted grapes during the first century AD.
Ancient ruins may be found all around the Rhone region. The next big alteration in this region took over 1000 years to occur. The Pope relocated his formal residence to Avignon in 1309, naming the area’s most popular wine area Chateauneuf du Pape. Syrah from Hermitage was traded to Bordeaux and Burgundy during the 1800s to help them improve their wines in light a very long time by giving them a more profound shading, more construction, and spine.
Difference Between Northern Rhone And Southern Rhone Wines
The flavor and taste of wines or drinks from the Northern Rhine and Southern Rhone are vastly different. Talking about the taste of wine that is available in the Southern Rhone Valley, it is spicy, sweet, and delicious. If you see the amount of alcohol, it always remains on the higher side and it is very warm in nature. They may be consumed right away and don’t require cellaring. Wines that are produced in Southern Rhone Valley are refined, delicious, and delicate in nature. However, it depends upon the vintage, location, and type of producer.
Talking about the Northern Rhone Valley, the only red wine that is available is Syrah. Limestone soils, clay, schist, mica, and steep slopes consisting of granite are something that characterizes the territory of the Northern Rhone Valley. Northern Rhone wines generally require aging before they are ready to consume. They can smell like ripe black fruits, pepper, soil, flowers, and bacon grease and be beautiful, exotic, and extremely fragrant.
On This Day
4TH Century BC: The Greeks planted grapes near Marseille. This region’s rich wine heritage began with them.
1309: During this time, The Pope relocated his formal residence to Avignon.
1600s: During this time, regulations were made to govern the wine production in Cote du Rhone.
1737: In this year, a new rule had been issued by the Royal Decree. According to it, the wine barrels should be labeled with CDR in order to ensure quality.
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