Rhone Valley, the second biggest appellation in France

Rhone Valley, the second biggest appellation in France

13th May 2021

Rhone valley, with 71,000 hectares of vines planted, is the second biggest vineyard in France, just after Bordeaux.

A patchwork of appellations

In total, there are more than 30 different AOC appellations in the Rhone Valley today including some exceptional ones. You’ve probably heard of Cote Rotie and Hermitage in the Northern Rhone, along with Châteauneuf du Pape and other important appellations in the Southern Rhone Valley.

Great diversity in grape varieties

There are 27 unique grape varieties allowed to be planted and used in the Rhone Valley and the region counts over 5,000 different producers, domaines and vineyards.

A vineyard split in two

The Rhone valley is split into two parts: Northern Rhone and Southern Rhone. Wines from the Southern Rhone and the Northern Rhone are quite different in style and character. In Nothern Rhone, there is only ONE red grape allowed and it is Syrah. In Southern Rhone, there are 15 permitted red grapes, making thing a bit more complicated! if there's one you should know though, it's Grenache, the most popular in Southern Rhone.

How to differenciate Southern Rhone wines and Nothern Rhone wines?

Southern Rhone wines are warmer, higher in alcohol, pretty sweet, a little spicy and display aromas of "herbs de Provence", kirsch and other ripe red fruits. They can be enjoyed young, and most of them do not really need to age. Southern Rhone wines can be full bodied and concentrated as well as elegant and refined, it really varies depending on the producer, the terroir and the vintage.

Wines from the Northern Rhone, at the contrary, often need time to age before being ready to drink. They are famous for being elegant, highly perfumed and displaying black fruits aromas as well as pepper, earth and flowers notes. The wines from the north are fresher, due to naturally higher levels of acidity from the Syrah grape and cooler climate. They can be hard to appreciate when they are young. After ageing a bit, they become powerful, yet refined, with depth, concentration and complexity.

Discover our selection of Rhone wines :

Terre de Sy 2015 - Côtes du Rhône - Rhone Valley

“A wine from French Rhone Valley, fully elaborated with Shiraz (called Syrah in France). Full bodied, with aromas typical from this grape: black fruits, spices, violet, hints of chocolate…Long finale, very warm, a beautiful Cotes du Rhone and a perfect vintage!”$22.90

Domaine des Trois Lys - Les Garrigues 2017 Côtes Du Rhône Villages - Rhône Valley

“Our favourite Côtes du Rhône wine…Full bodied, with an intense and deep colour, fruity aromas and typical hints of violet. Its tannins are very warm and silky. Enjoy for a nice dinner with game or red meat, or even at the aperitive for the wine lovers of full-bodied wines!”


Château La Font du Loup 2015 - Châteauneuf Du Pape - Rhône Valley

“A very good vintage for this wine from the prestigious appellation of Southern Rhône in France! Le Plonque brings to Australia a very deep wine, with beautiful and complex nose, full-bodied and elegant, and also very warm… just like the region where it is from! A must have for the GSM fans!”