Cote du Rhone – description of the region
This region follows the course of the valley of the Rhone for over 200km from Vienne near Lyons to Avignon. There is great variety ranging from steeply terraced vineyards to those covering wide flood plains. Although the majority of wines produced are red, there are some very drinkable whites made.
Great Cote du Rhone wines
There is not so much distinction for Cotes du Rhone wines compared to other regions covered in this guide, although there is one real classic this area produces – Chateauneuf du Pape, a rich red wine which should be kept for many years to reach its best. That is of course not to say that other wines are not really enjoyable. If you look below you will see that there is a large number of vineyards we can recommend throughout the Rhone area.
Gigondas is also worth seeking out. The vineyards where this wine is grown are in a fantastic setting in the shadow of Mont Ventoux, around 15km north of Carpentras. It’s been called a low cost version of Chateauneuf du Pape although that may be unfair – personally we really like it!
Our favourite Cote du Rhone wines
Côtes du Vivrais 2001 white was particularly popular with the ladies. Purchased from a co-operative in Orgnac l’Aven, heading on the D176 towards Barjac. Great value at just 2.4 Euros a bottle.
Château de Boussargues, Nectar de Chantal – beautiful sweet white dessert wine, perfumed with herbs and flowers. A speciality of this vineyard (see below).
As well as Gigondas , we would also recommend Vacqueras, Lirac and Tavel – all good reds.
Chateauneuf du Pape: The village itself (10km north of Avignon) is worth a visit, however we wouldn’t recommend purchasing wine in the village as the majority of the wine vendors seem to be there waiting for the tourists and you’ll find much better pricing and personal service if you can find a vineyard that is open to visitors. We recommend to try the Château des Fines Roches – easy to find on the D17 from Sorgues to Chateauneuf, about 10km north of Avignon. Very friendly welcome, impressive location and interesting cave.
Visits to Vineyards and Museums
We’re not aware of any wine museums in this area although there are some excellent wine festivals held during the summer months. Worth checking out is the festival at Vacqueyras.
One of the attractions of the Rhone valley is that so many vineyards welcome visitors. The following come recommended based on either our experience or that of our friends:
Château de Boussargues-Colombier
30 Sabran 04 66 89 32 20
Fantastic setting, gracious and welcoming owner. And the wine is quite pleasant too, especially the Nectar de Chantal which is a speciality of this vineyard.
Cave des Vignerons d’Estézargues 30 Estézargues Tel 04 66 57 03 64
Try the 1995!
Château de Bastet
EARL Bastet Château de Bastet 30 Sabran Tel 04 66 89 69 14
Special selection is 1996
Domaine de BelleFeuille
Cote du Rhone specific websites
- Chateauneuf du Pape website: http://www.chateauneuf.com/english/index.html
- Château Fortia website: http://www.chateau-fortia.com/
- The wines of Cote du Rhone website: http://www.rhone-wines.com
Our favourite food and wine in France: