Here’s the breakdown on the Rhône Valley:
Located in southeast France, along 125 miles of the river, there is a distinct division between Northern and Southern Rhône, and between the wines as well as the land, climate, customs, and food.
The major grapes are Syrah and Viognier, along with Marsanne and Roussanne. And the appellations include Côte Rôtie, Hermitage(< –those two are known as some of the best Syrah in the world & both can include a heavy % of white grapes), Crozes-Hermitage, Cornas(excellent value), St. Joseph, and two that are recognized for great whites–>Château Grillet, Condrieu.
Covering more land and producing far more wine, Southern Rhône is all about blends. For red, the primary grapes are Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre, and Carignan. For white, Grenache Blanc, Ugni Blanc, Clairette, along with others, including the three from the northern neighbour. Some appellations here are the oh-so-fun-to-say Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas (more good value ), Côtes du Ventoux (fresh and fruity reds and rosés), Tavel (best known French rosé), and the generic AOC Côtes du Rhône.
For my contribution tonight, I first went to K & L, which was beyond my current budget. The cellar rat recommended Draeger’s, and it turned out to be the jackpot. I picked up two bottles, for myself and another attendee, and together both cost about $23. One was from E.Guigal, a well-known name in the Rhône Valley, and La Vieille Ferme, made by the Perrin family, of Château du Beaucastel merit.
I think I might make a tropical fruit salsa to accompany the wines, but I’ll have to let you know later. And of course, how the tasting goes…