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Vallée du Rhône

This area is divided into two parts : the northern part (from Vienne to Valence) and the southern part (frome the south of Donzère to Avignon). The northern part has a semi-continental climate ; the soil is composed of brittle granite. The southern part benefits from a Mediterranean climate : temperatures are particulary high with  lots of sunshine ; the wind (mistral) blows over 200 days a year and the soil is diverse (stones, argilo-calcareous soil, sands, marls...)
With 197684 acres of vineyards, this is the second largest vineyard area and therefore production area in France.

Main grape varieties

White grape varieties

  • Viognier : gives generous, corpulent, very aromatic dry white wines (fruit and white flowers).
  • Marsanne : gives a sparkling or a dry white wine, but has a great bouquet.
  • Roussane : gives fine and strong wines, suited to ageing.
  • Clairette : gives alcoholic and low acidity wines with honey aromas and a hint of bitterness at the end.
  • Ugni Blanc and Bourboulenc are often used in blending.

Red grape varieties

  • Syrah : gives a large range of aromas : tabacco, liquorice, musk, undergrowth, black or red fruit, spices).
  • Grenache : gives a strong coloured wine, with spicy and red fruit aromas.
  • Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Carignand are mainly utilised in blending.

Vallée du Rhône's appellations

Regional appellation « Côtes-du-Rhône » is located on the northern and southern parts of the area. 

The appellation « Côtes du Rhône Villages » is only situated on the southern part.

There are eight appellations in the southern part : Côte Rôtie, Condrieu, Château-Grillet, Saint-Joseph, Cornas, Saint-Péray, Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage.

Southern appellations are Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueras, Lirac, Tavel, Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise and Rasteau. There are eight other appellations in Vallée du Rhône (including the famous Clairette de Die).