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Rhône Valley

The Rhône Valley is a key wine producing region in the southeast of France. It follows the north/south course of the Rhône river for almost 150 miles (240km) from Lyon to the Rhône Delta (the Bouches-du-Rhône), near the Mediterranean coast.

The length of the valley means that Rhône wines are the product of a wide variety of soil types and mesoclimates. The region's wine producing areas cover such a distance that there is a widely accepted division between its northern and southern parts. Rather neatly, they are separated by a gap of 25 miles (40 km) between the towns of Valance and Montelimar, in which almost no vines are grown.

This division is reflected not only in geography and preferred grape varieties, but also in the quality and quantity of wines produced. The smaller, more quality-driven northern section focuses almost entirely on Syrah for red wines and Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne for whites, while the larger and more prolific south employs a much longer list of varieties. The most notable of these are the red varieties Grenache and Mourvèdre, which are combined with Syrah to produce the "GSM" blend so characteristic of the southern Rhône. While the granite-blessed slopes of the north are paired with a continental climate, the rocky, sandy soils of the flatter south enjoy the warmer winters of a Mediterranean climate.

Prestige is also a key differentiator between the northern and southern areas of the Rhône. The north boasts old and highly respected names, such as Hermitage and Côte Rôtie, but it accounts for only 5 percent of the valley's total wine production. The remaining 95 percent is made in the south under less-prestigious, less-specific names. The south is not entirely lacking in prestige, however, as it is here that the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation is located.

One important, unifying constant between the two areas is the regional Côtes du Rhône appellation, which can be claimed by red, rosé and white wines from all over the valley. This title covers 171 communes over the 125 miles (200km) between Vienne in the north and Avignon in the south – the towns that mark the beginning and end of the main valley. These wines are still subject to the rules and regulations of the appellation laws, but do not match up to the quality required from more location-specific titles such as Saint-Joseph or Gigondas.

The appellation Côtes du Rhône Villages is restricted to specific villages whose terroir produces wine of a slightly higher quality. By chance, they are clustered in the southern section of the Rhône valley, around the town of Orange. An elected sub-set of about 20 (this list changes over time) are permitted to add their village names to the title Côtes du Rhône Villages, producing some interesting, long-winded names such as Côtes du Rhône Villages Saint-Maurice-sur-Eygues.

One small but important area not covered by the obvious north/south divide is the Die district to the east of the Rhône. Located 30 miles (50km) east of Valence and Montelimar, the ancient town of Die sits at the foot of the French Alps. It produces sparkling wines under the appellations Clairette de Die and Crémant de Die, as well as some still whites under the Côteaux de Die title.

Die is not alone in being the source of an idiosyncratic white Rhône wine. Condrieu wines from the north are rich, mostly dry whites with honeyed, floral aromas, while the sweet white wines of Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise complete the Rhône's wide repertoire of styles.
  • Château Saint-Roch Côtes Du Rhône Rouge
    £11.95

    Château Saint-Roch Côtes Du Rhône Rouge

    Château Saint-Roch

    Chateau Saint-Roch Cotes Du Rhone Rouge is garnet with brilliant purple reflections. Fragrant and bright red and black berries on the nose with a s...

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    £11.95
  • Mas Carlot Costières De Nîmes Rouge
    £8.85

    Mas Carlot Costières De Nîmes Rouge

    Mas Carlot

    Mas Carlot Costieres De Nimes Rouge has a deep ruby ​​hue and it reveals intense fruit flavours of crushed red berries with pepper spice and a sugg...

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    £8.85
  • Château De La Gardine Châteauneuf Du Pape Cuvée Tradition Rouge
    £35.60

    Château De La Gardine Châteauneuf Du Pape Cuvée Tradition Rouge

    Château De La Gardine

    Chateau De La Gardine Chateauneuf Du Pape Cuvee Tradition Rouge is a wine that symbolises concentration. Its deep purple colour invites you into th...

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    £35.60
  •  Rasteau Château De La Gardine
    £20.35

    Rasteau Château De La Gardine

    Château De La Gardine

    Chateau De La Gardine Rasteau has a beautiful deep garnet colour with purple hues. Notes of blackcurrant, violets, blackberry and liquorice on the ...

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    £20.35
  • Château Saint-Roch Lirac Confidentielle Rouge
    £19.50

    Château Saint-Roch Lirac Cuvee Confidentielle Rouge

    Château Saint-Roch

    Chateau Saint-Roch Lirac Confidentielle Rouge is vibrant purple with aromas of violets. It has deep and plentiful plum fruit flavours with notes of...

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    £19.50
  • Château Saint-Roch Châteauneuf Du Pape
    £29.45

    Château Saint-Roch Châteauneuf Du Pape

    Château Saint-Roch

    Chateau Saint-Roch Chateauneuf Du Pape reveals notes of jammy black fruits, fleshy cherry fruit, kirsch, liquorice and spices. Ample and delicious ...

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    £29.45
  • Brunel De La Gardine Crozes-Hermitage
    £20.50

    Brunel De La Gardine Crozes-Hermitage

    Brunel De La Gardine

    Brunel De La Gardine Crozes-Hermitage is very concentrated, the colour is intense - almost black. The nose is marked by aromas of forest floor, bla...

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    £20.50
  • Brunel De La Gardine Côte Rôtie
    £40.80

    Brunel De La Gardine Côte Rôtie

    Brunel De La Gardine

    Brunel De La Gardine Cote Rotie displays great aromatic complexity on the nose, with notes of violets, toasted nuts, leather and coffee over rich b...

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    £40.80
  • Château De La Gardine Châteauneuf Du Pape Cuvée Peur Bleue
    £35.95

    Château De La Gardine Châteauneuf Du Pape Cuvée Peur Bleue

    Château De La Gardine

    Chateau De La Gardine Chateauneuf Du Pape Cuvee Peur Bleue is a limited edition wine that is fresh, open and generous, bursting with liquorice, cho...

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    £35.95
  • Domaine Pierre Gaillard Cornas
    £40.15

    Domaine Pierre Gaillard Cornas

    Domaine Gaillard

    Domaine Pierre Gaillard Cornas has 18 months in 50% new barrels, and it offers lots of typical Cornas style in its gamey, damp forest notes, saddle...

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    £40.15
  • Brunel De La Gardine Hermitage
    £40.45

    Brunel De La Gardine Hermitage

    Brunel De La Gardine

    Brunel De La Gardine Hermitage is made in very small quantities, but with great amounts of know-how. Inky dark with purple hues. Because the Hermit...

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    £40.45