Divided into two distinct regions 50 kilometres apart, the Rhone Valley starts just below Burgundy and continues directly south towards Avignon.
The Northern Valley is more moderate and continental in climate, producing structured and poised red wines from the Syrah grape variety and floral, full bodied whites from Viognier, Marsanne and Rousanne. The famous red wines from this region, such as Cote Rotie and Hermitage, have huge potential to age, developing notes of earth and mushroom.
Traversing down to the hot and mediterranean climate of the Southern Rhone means sun-loving grapes such as Grenache, Mourvedre and Cinsault can take pride of place.
Depending on the blend, the red wines can be light and fruity, especially from larger regions such as Cotes du Rhone, whilst the smaller appellations of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas usually produce full bodied, concentrated and powerful expressions. White wines also exist in the Southern Valley, and are tragically overlooked because of the many iconic red wines produced in the area. These whites are for those in the know, with most displaying fleshy, tropical fruit flavours and a hint of white pepper spice.