In the Rhone Valley are mainly produced red wines , from grapes of Syrah . Most of the wines that come from this grape are produced in the northern area, while in the south are typical Grenache Noir and Mourvèdre . Robust and rustic, the wines of the Rhone begin to be appreciated since the late eighties.
The region is divided in two by the river from which it takes its name: in the north belong the most famous names, Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage .
However, in the Rhone Valley there is also an interesting white grape, the Viognier , produced in the Condrieu area , where the smallest AOC area in France is located: Château-Grillet .
The two areas of the Rhone Valley are not only a geographical division, but also a real differentiation of two wine production styles. To the north the wines are generally monovitigno , while in the south the assemblage of more grapes prevails. Think of the famous "Southern" wine Châteauneuf-du-Pape : it embodies the beauty of 13 different grapes, both red and white!
There is a very high variety of grapes produced: there are 11 main white and 10 black ones, not to mention the lesser ones.
The wine area is recognized by the French classification system as AOC (the equivalent of the Italian DOC). 7 in the north and 7 in the south the main denominations AOC of the territory.
To the north it rains more, the region is greener and the climate more favorable to the growth of the vines: for this, 90% of the best known wines are concentrated in it. It is the hill of the Hermitage where the best are produced.
Worthy of note, however, are also rosés. Characteristic is the mixture, used in the south, of white grapes and black grapes: even if the legislation allows a maximum 20% addition to the single-variety, the producers almost always distinguish only for a 5%, but enough to give unique aromas. The greater heat and brightness of the south allows for more full-bodied and complex wines.
A separate note deserves Château Grillet : a symbolic wine of the Rhône Valley, of great aromatic complexity, it is a snobbish wine, which ages well and can even cost several hundred of Euro!