Tag: wset

Southern Rhone

The Southern Rhone. “This region is renowned for warming, ripely welcoming, and rarely expensive wines of all three colors.” The World Atlas of Wine (Eighth Edition).

Southern Rhone, France; Fernando Beteta
Southern Rhone, France; Fernando Beteta

Larger and more spread out than the Northern Rhone, there’s no denying that we’re going to cover a good bit of detail here. With its varied terroir, the Southern Rhone comes with a larger variety of grapes grown and wine produced—good news if you want a diversified tasting experience. Indeed, most wines here are blends—red, white, and rosé, though red undeniably dominates. And, as The Oxford Companion to Wine (Fourth Edition) notes, though some winemakers do experiment with Syrah (the dominant grape of the Northern Rhone), here in the south, it’s far too warm for the grape to “ripen gracefully.” Thus, it is Grenache—at over double the planting—that is the Southern Rhone‘s most planted red wine grape.

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Rhone Valley Overview

After Alsace, the Rhone Valley is probably my next favorite French wine region. The diversity in terrain, climate, and soils, makes for a whole host of grape varieties and wine styles. Much modern winemaking in my home state of California takes its literal and figurative roots from the Rhone, so the history, along with comparative tastings, are of particular interest to me.

Today, we start with an overview of the Rhone Valley. A lot will focus on signature grape varieties of both the Northern and Southern Rhone, as well as some key terms and facts that will help us moving forward. Because my text doesn’t go into the winemaking history of the region, I’m not going to cover that in detail during this series, though I may drop an interesting anecdote here and there if it is relevant to the material being discussed. If interested, The Oxford Companion to Wine (Fourth Edition), does have a good historical synopsis. And if you’re interested in the California-French Rhone connection, I highly recommend American Rhone: How Maverick Winemakers Changed the Way Americans Drink by Patrick J. Comiskey.

Drainage basin of Rhône River
Drainage basin of Rhône River

Alright, let’s get started.

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It’s the Biz: Bordeaux Wine Business

Alright, alright, alright…it is the exciting conclusion to our Bordeaux series, looking at the business side of things. If you haven’t read through the France Overview, Bordeaux Overview, the Left Bank, and Right Bank articles, please do-so, as there are a lot of key terms and facts that will help this section make a bit more sense. Also, check out the Bordeaux tastings, as it puts a lot of that knowledge into palate-perspective.

Berndt Fernow - Self-photographed Bottles of Bordeaux Wine in Shop, Bordeaux, France
Berndt Fernow – Self-photographed
Bottles of Bordeaux Wine in Shop, Bordeaux, France

On y va!

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Right Bank Bordeaux

Here we go into the Right Bank of Bordeaux and associated appellations. If you’ve not yet read either my France Overview or my Bordeaux Overview, please do so, as there are a lot of key terms and concepts covered there that will help make sense of this post. I’ve also already covered the Left Bank of Bordeaux here.

Included is also a look at the Entre-deux-Mers as well as the sweet wine appellations of BordeauxSauternesBarsac, and other, smaller sweet AOCs.

Right Bank Bordeaux, France; Fernando Beteta
Right Bank Bordeaux, France; Fernando Beteta

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