France’s Rhône Valley is indispensable for any wine lover and traveler. It’s impossible to deny the value and diversity of the second-largest appellation-growing area in the country. And the US is a key export market for the growers and producers of the region, making this a particularly accessible category for consumers here.
Nearly half of the wine produced here comes under the Côtes du Rhône label with another 11% arriving from CDR villages. There are a handful of unique appellations in the mix too, including Ventoux, Luberon, Clairette de Die and Diois (sparkling wines), and Grignan-Les-Adhémar. This leaves somewhere around 15% of production to the esteemed Crus — these are dedicated terroirs that have earned the right to be named as a ‘growth’ under the rules of the French wine system.
The Rhône Valley, which runs roughly from Lyon to Marseille, is considered in two parts: North and South. From Vienne to Valance one finds the eight northern Crus. The southern Crus are in the area between Montélimar and Arles. Each of these deserves its own recognition, but as an orientation, this article will examine two. Crozes-Hermitage in the north and Cairanne in the south.
The French Winophiles
This month the French Winophiles explores the diversity of Rhône Valley wines. Join our Twitter chat at 10am central time on Sat, January 21 with our hashtag #Winophiles. Here’s what the authors have planned for you:
Beurre Noisette Salmon Sprinkled with Belper Knolle + A Syrah from Crozes-Hermitage from Culinary Cam
- Relaxing with a Cotes du Rhone and Rummikub from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Back to Cotes du Rhone for a French GSM blend from My Full Wine Glass
- For Rhone Diversity Look Across the Street from Food Wine Click!
- Tavel Rosé: Tasting and Food Pairings from Always Ravenous
- Sipping the sweet side of the Rhône with a Rasteau Vin Doux Naturel from Crushed Grape Chronicles
- A Range of Côtes du Rhône Wines Provide Delightful Diversity Paired with Citrus Salad and Cassoulet from Wine Predator Gwendolyn Alley
- A Closer Look at Two Rhône Valley Crus: Crozes-Hermitage and Cairanne right here, from me, Jill Barth