I spent a nice weekend checking out some of the sights in Marseille and Avignon, two very important and historic cities in Provence, before heading to the next region on my trip. I was actually returning to another region I visited in France when I was here in 2010, but much like Alsace I could only spend one day in the Rhone Valley when I last visited. Whilst this was long enough to fall in love with the region, it wasn’t enough to truly learn about the different appelations and wine styles, so I was very excited to return. My plan was to spend a few days in the Southern Rhone, and a few more in the Northern Rhone, because the Valley is a few hundred kilometres long which I discovered in 2010 when I drove from Lyon to Chateauneuf-du-Pape and back in one day. From north to south they are completely different in many ways, and therefore should never be considered as one region, much like Provence. Whilst all the varieties that are grown in the Northern Rhone are found in the Southern Rhone, the opposite is not true, and the wines are very different. The appellation of Chateauneuf-du-Pape itself, covering 3,000 hectares of vineyards making it one of the largest single appelations in France, can use up to 13 varieties. Whilst the Northern Rhone has very steep vineyards with very different terroirs and only four varieties, the Southern Rhone has generally flatter vineyards and more varieties to work with and blend.
|One of the most iconic items in French wine|