Rhone

Rhône

The Rhône River has its origins in Geneva, Switzerland, but its early meanderings have no significance in the wine world. Its impact begins only south of Lyon, where it flows together with the Saone to form a river of importance, both for commerce and for wine. By the time it flows into the Mediterranean Sea, it has passed through some of France’s most important winegrowing areas.

The Northern Rhône vineyards begin only half an hour by car south of Lyon. Ampuis, on the right bank, anchors the vertiginous vineyards of Côte Rôtie, so steep that tractors and animals cannot be used and all the vineyard work must be done by hand. Just below Ampuis is Condrieu, home to the uniquely aromatic white wine made from Viognier. The hill of Hermitage lies on the left bank down the river a few miles. Côte Rôtie and Hermitage are both 100% Syrah, as are the red wines made just below Tain l’Hermitage. There are two more appellations here — Crozes-Hermitage on the left bank and St. Joseph on the right.

The Southern Rhône doesn’t begin for another hour’s travel south on the Autoroute. Our producer in Bourg St. Andéol is at the northern limit of the Côtes du Rhône appellation, which stretches another hour south, well past Chateauneuf du Pape. There’s a marked difference in the weather in the Southern Rhône. It feels the vivid, intense sun that inspired artists like Van Gogh, Cezanne and Picasso; and the equally fierce Mistral blows regularly. Both conditions are good for vineyard health and ripeness, and the area produces a large amount of rich red wine, much of it a blend of Grenache and Syrah.

Winemakers

  • Chateau Maucoil

    Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    The Chateau Maucoil is a centuries old winery in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, built on the site of a Roman-era spring.

  • Christophe Mestre

    Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    Christophe Mestre is a young winemaker from an old Chateauneuf family, whose talent and terroir have already begun to bring him acclaim.

  • Domaine Bonnefond

    Côte Rôtie

    The Bonnefonds produce exceptional Côte Rôtie — it’s is dark, dense, and chewy, but there’s an attractive liveliness often lacking in Syrah from lower latitudes.  Robert Parker calls brothers Patrick and Christophe Bonnefond “among the finest in the appellation.”

  • Domaine Coulange

    Bourg-St-Andèol

    Winemaker Christelle Coulange returned to the family property after oenology school, and began to make and bottle her own wine (previously the family sold in bulk). In only a decade she has made quite a name for herself.

  • Domaine les Goubert

    Gigondas

    In recent years at the Domaine les Goubert, daughter Florence has begun to handle more of the winemaking responsibilities. She introduced an extremely popular rosé and tweaked a few of their other cuvées.

  • Domaine Malmont

    Séguret

    We worked for many years with Nicolas and his father at the Domaine de Cabasse in Séguret. When the family sold Cabasse a few years ago, we were excited to learn that Nicolas would continue his new project in the hills above the town.

  • Domaine Saint-Clair

    Crozes-Hermitage

    Four years ago, while working in the family flower business, Denis Basset was nearly electrocuted after touching a high-voltage wire. Leaving the hospital with a new appreciation for living, Basset decided to pursue his lifelong dream of making wine.

  • Pierre André

    Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    The Andrés’ long experience with low-intervention winemaking is evident. They own neither a destemmer nor a filter, and believe in painstaking and meticulous vineyard work.

  • Stephane Montez

    Condrieu

    Stephane Montez is a passionate, driven young winemaker whose wines are pure, clean expressions of their terroir. His Condrieu is extraordinary — you can smell the aromas at several feet away from the glass.

Available Rhône Wines