On Sunday Evening my wife and I decided to go to a restaurant and enjoy a family favourite – steak and red wine! After we looked at the menu, we decided to go with this bottle of Vacqueyras. A southern rhone appellation – this has pretty much all the reputational credibility of the top four prestige cru’s (chateauneuf-du-pape, cornas, cote-rotie, and hermitage) except it isn’t, it comes from the next tier down or the other 12 cru’s. The rhone is an exceptionally complex wine region in my opinion. Here is why…
In the northern rhone alone we have 8 appellations
- Cote-Rotie (reds of syrah and up to 20 viognier)
- Condrieu – whites of Viognier only
- Chateau-Grillet -whites of Viognier
- Saint -Joseph – reds of Syrah and up to 10% Marsanne and Roussanne plus whites which can only be made from Marsanne or Roussanne
- Crozes-Hermitage – reds of Syrah and up to 15% Marsanne and Roussanne with whites made from Marsanne or Rousanne
- Hermitage – as above
- Cornas – Reds of Syrah only
- Saint-Peray – sparkling and still whites of only Marsanne and Rousanne
In the southern rhone, it is as complex, and appellations are as follows
- Cote du Vivarais
- Cotes du rhone
- Cotes du rhone villages
- Chateauneuf du pape
- Grignan Les Adhemar
- Beaumes de Venise
- Muscat de Beaumes de Venise
The Southern Rhones most famous wine Chateauneuf-du-pape is a blend containing 19 varieties of grape (10 red and 9 white), other AOC regions may even contain more. The complexity of grapes grown, blends, and appellation rules are intense to say the least.
As part of my diploma studies, I am trying to focus in on the detail of particular wine regions.
The Rhone will be my first one. Here is my first attempt at drawing a map of the southern rhone to help me remember the appellations and geography of the region.