Rhone Wine is the wine produced in the wine region of Rhone located in South France. The Rhone wine region is broadly devided into the Northern and Southern Rhone regions which differ from each other in their vinicultural practices. The former region predominantly produces red Rhone wines from the Syrah variety of grapes and white wines from the Viogner variety of grapes, and some blends from the two varieties. The Southern Rhone Wine region also produces rose wines in addition to red and white wines and a variety of blended wines.
History of Rhone Wines
The history of Rhone wine dates back to the ancient period of 600 BC with the origin of the two major varieties, namely, the Shiraz and the Vioginer being disputed. The Shiraz is believed to be introduced by the Greeks coming from Persian city of Shiraz by some, while others believe it to have been brought from Syracuse in Sicily, while scientific studies seem to support the view that the Syrah of the region is in fact native to Rhone and was not brought from anywhere else. After the ancient times, Rhone wine made its appearance only in the thirteenth century and it flourished very much though there were set backs.
Popular Rhone Wine Regions
Rhone wines constitute a major contribution to the wine supply of France. Rhone wine grapes are grown in about 6000 estates of the region which mostly do not produce wine on their own but supply grapes to any of the 103 cooperatives of the region for the production of Rhone wine. The region also has about 1837 wineries which produce wine.
The Northern Rhone region, with its continental climate which is cooler than its Southern counterpart is primarily home to the Shiraz the usage of which may be exclusive, while red grapes of other varieties are combined with white grapes like the Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier. All grape blendings are done according to AOC rules. Some famous appellations of the Northern Rhone wine region are Cote Rotie AOC( which produces about eighty percent Shiraz and about twenty percent Viognier), Condrieu AOC (and Chateau Grillet AOC (both of which produce only the white Viognier variety),and Saint Joseph AOC(of which Shiraz consistutes ninenty percent of the production, while the white grape varities of Marsanne and Roussanne constitute the rest ten percent).
Southern Rhone Region- this region with its Mediterranean climate , with warm winters and hot summers and sub-regions with micro-climates, supports the cultivation of wine grapes of different varieties the most famous of which is the red blended Rhone wine, a delicious mix of grapes of thirteen varieties, egiht of which are red and five of which are white. The appellations other than Chateauneuf-du-Pape AOC, where this is actually produced, may include more varieties of grapes in the blend. At the AOCs of Coteaux du Tricastin, Cotes Du Ventoux and Cotes Du Vivarais are some AOCs are some of the appellations of this region are examples of this. Apart from Shiraz, Mourvedre, Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan are the other varities of Rhone wines produced in this region.