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Home Wine Regions French Wine Regions Overview French Wine Regions - Côtes du Rhône

French Wine Regions -  Côtes du Rhône

If you want to see a miniature Italy that is stretched out over 125 miles, you need only visit the Rhone Valley. This valley goes from Lyon to Avignon. Interestingly, this grape growing region has dramatic climate variation from the mild winters and hot summers of the Mediterranean climate to cold winters and warm summers.

The northern soils are made up of granite. The southern soils are made up of limestone. The most grown red wine grapes along this valley are Carignan, Grenache, and Syrah. The most grown white wine grapes along this valley are Clairette, Grenache Blanc, and Ugni Blanc.

Among the red wine grapes, by far the most prevelant here is Grenache. More Grenache is grown here than all other red wine grapes combined. The most prevalent of the white wine grapes is Clairette, which makes up about 1/3 of total white wine grapes here.

This valley in the Côtes du Rhône region is responsible for the production of more than 450 million bottles of wine each year. As you might expect, Côte Rôtie is by far the most produced wine here.

A village within this region that has a unique climate for the Mediterranean area is Chartreuse de Valbonne. This climate is the result of forest covered hills around it, made up of chalk and limestone terraces. Wine grapes have been grown here for more than 700 years. The unique climate provides the opportunity for superior quality Syrah, Grenache Noir, and Viognier Plump.

A couple of the popular source villages of Côtes du Rhône include Cairanne and Rasteau. In particular, the latter is known for its tannic Domaine du Trapadis. The zesty flavor of wine from this region is legendary, but the Cairanne's soft Domaine Catherine Le Goeuil is also legendary.

Clay, red clay, and limestone growing soils in a variety of areas in Côtes du Rhône help to produce plenty of good wine grapes. Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah are relatively common here, as with many places around the world. The difference is that many of the wines in this region have been produced for hundreds or even thousands of years. For example, Gigondas wine is a Roman variety found in this region.

Some seek out Vignobles Darriaud's Grenache Syrah of this region simply because this full red provides a shocking punch to the tongue. Produced mainly in this region, it is described as pepper and chocolate together.

Above all the grapes grown here are the red ones that grow on the Châteauneuf du Pape. About ten varieties are grown, including Grenache, Syrah, and Clairette. The 13 million bottles produced here annually provide a cinnamon and fruit flavor that ages very well.