The Rhône is France’s second largest producer of AOC wines (after Bordeaux). Its viticultural history dates back to the Romans who sculpted its terraced topography and introduced the vine.
It is in the Rhône where east meets west. The granite and schist of the Massif Central (west) collide with the sedimentary soils of the Alps and its foothills (east)….
So, how well do you know the Rhône?
Vin Jaune is Jura’s claim to fame! This stylized wine product is made from Savagnin [Blanc] and represents a wine that has undergone controlled oxidation in barrel through the action of a film of surface yeasts.
Almost every wine book in print speaks of the 13 grape varieties of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but this count is not exactly accurate. If you factor in all of the color variants of those 13 grapes, you end up with 22 authorized grapes for this appellation!
Christophe Tassan is interviewed by Decanter Magazine’s Andrew Jefford about the Rhône Valley and its wines. “I was born in the dining room, in hospitality,” Christophe tells us, which seems appropriate, as this interview took place in a San Francisco restaurant around the corner from The Battery, where he is currently the wine director.
Bourgogne has applied some new math to count its AOCs. They have shed their claim to 100 AOCs and reorganized their appellations to fit within a count of 84.
The best way to make sense of French red wines is to simply start tasting them. France offers the perfect red wine for every occasion—from steak frites on Monday, to boeuf bourgignon with the in-laws on Sunday, and everything between.
Many of France’s best red wines are labeled with the name of the wine appellation, rarely by grape variety.
If you’ve ever felt completely overwhelmed while browsing an French wine section, knowing just a few key wine names will help keep your shopping trip focused and ensure that you have the perfect wine to drink at a moment’s notice.