Wine started with the Greeks in the 4th century BC. However, the Romans planted vineyards and built a highway on their march through France! One famous region many of us now is Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Meaning “The Pope’s New House” The Catholic Church was next in the line of influences with Pope Clement V moved his headquarters from Rome to Avignon in 1309.
Quality Production The Rhone wine region was one of the earliest to recognized for quality wine production when Baron Pierre Le Roy Boiseaumarié, a trained lawyer and winegrower from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, successfully obtained legal recognition of the “Côtes du Rhône” appellation of origin in 1936. The Rhone is quality focused for centuries, and it is said to be the inspiration for the current AOC system in use today to define quality French wine production.
Rhone Geography VS. Quality As in most of France, the larger the region the “more approachable” the wine! It’s special when a small area, or vineyard, can produce a wine of exceptional quality. So those wines are bottled separately, in limited quantities.
Most abundant is the Côtes du Rhône a full 50% of the production, this is the “starter level!” Most in this realm are blends of Grenache and or Syrah from a series of different vineyards. A minimum of 11% Alc. That can come from 21 different grapes. Fun and easy drinking! Food friendly everyday wines. Although they make a tiny part of the production, the white blends and rosés of the Rhone are equally delicious too!
Côtes du Rhône Villages The next step up the wine ‘pyramid’, the village wines are a bit more complicated with lower yields and slightly higher alcohol. These wines are great for aging. Now a minimum of 12% Alc. Grenache 50%, of the blend with Syrah and Mourvèdre now at 20%. With the white wine mainly Grenache white.
Côtes du Rhône Villages adding the village name Another level of quality, as you see the village name denotes a smaller region and a reflection of excellent quality wines. Look for Vinsobres, Rasteau, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Lirac, and Tavel.
Cru labeled wines Top tier here, look for the following: Beaumes de Venise AOC, Château-Grillet AOC, Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC, Condrieu AOC, Cornas AOC, Côte-Rôtie AOC, Crozes-Hermitage AOC, Gigondas AOC, Hermitage AOC, Lirac AOC, Rasteau AOC, Saint Joseph AOC, Saint Péray AOC, Tavel AOC, Vacqueyras AOC, Vinsobres AOC
We have been through several CDR with our best-combined pick listed below. Please note these are very well rated and quite limited.