WINE TRAVEL: EXPLORING THE NORTHERN RHONE VALLEY

The Rhône, a French wine region, is situated in the Rhône valley and produces numerous wines under various AOC designations. The Rhône is generally divided into two subregions with distinct vinicultural traditions – the Northern and Southern Rhône. Both are unique, each with different climate, soils and grape varieties.

Although the Northern Rhône vineyards are responsible for only a small percentage of the total production of Rhône wines, they are home to many of the premium wines.

The climate of the northern subregion is moderate and continental, with noticeably cooler temperatures than in the Southern Rhône. As a result, the northern vineyards are mainly planted close to the River Rhône on steep slopes with a south-facing aspect.

The Northern Rhône is most closely associated with powerful red wines made from Syrah, the only black variety permitted there. Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne are whites varieties, which are also grown in the region.

The Northern Rhone produces some of the world’s most legendary Syrah wines, which tend to be deeply coloured and have medium-high tannins with black fruit and pepper aromas. The addition of the white grapes can help to stabilise the colour; Viognier can also add an extra aromatic intensity.

To discover this wine region, we suggest you to taste the Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage 2016. The excellent Syrah from the top wine producer of Crozes-Hermitage, the largest appellation in the Northern Rhône.

What critics say: “The 2016 Crozes Hermitage offers a big blast of classic Crozes – dark fruits, earth, truffle, olive, and pepper on the nose. This is followed by a medium-bodied, rounded, nicely concentrated effort that has good acidity, building tannins, and a great finish. An incredibly successful wine in this vintage, it will benefit from a year or two of bottle age and keep for 5-6 years.” – Jeb Dunnuck

Amsterdam, March 16th 2020