The Rhône Valley is a land of two halves: the north and the south. Spanning 150 miles, the region’s vineyards follow the course of the Rhône river, taking in the prestigious appellations of Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, as it winds its way south of the gastronomic capital Lyon towards the medieval town of Avignon, once the home of the Papacy.
The Northern Rhône, the envy of every Syrah producer on the planet, is cooler and thus suited to the spicy, savoury Syrah variety, where quality-oriented producers including Guigal, Jamet and Vernay work the steep slopes that rise out of the river and forge site-specific wines with huge character and individual personalities, from the burly expression of Cornas to the aromatic seduction of Côte-Rôtie.
The warmer, Mediterranean climes of the Southern Rhône, is the larger of the region’s two wine-producing areas and specialises in red blends. In the most famous of its appellations, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, as many as 13 grape varieties are permitted in the blend. The pudding stones of this famous terroir play host to illustrious producers including Rayas, Beaucastel, Vieux Télégraphe and Clos des Papes.