The Fabulous Rhone Valley Wine Tour
You’ve done the north ?
Grab your Ray Bans and sandals and head south...
To the fabulous Rhone Valley.
If you like big warm voluptuous reds, sun gorged rich whites and every nuance of rosé then you’ll definitely enjoy this region. The Rhone valley is one of France's oldest viticultural regions and the 2nd biggest after Bordeaux with 73000 hectares and a varied selection of grape varieties.
Lyon is a great starting base in the north of the valley, apart from being a lovely city there is an easily accessed international airport, TGV rail station and its the confluence of several major highways.
Twenty minute drive south and you are hit with the vista of the crazy steep slopes of Cote Rotie and Condieu, world class reds from syrah and whites from the delicious viognier grape. Continue south and within another 30 minutes we're in St Joseph then the wonderful little town of Tain-Hermitage nestling between the slopes of L'Hermitage and the banks of the mighty Rhone. Great little hotels either side of the Rhone, joined by a wonderful foot suspensions bridge. Numerous wine producers where we can taste Crozes Hermitages, St Josephs and the great wines from Hermitage and many many others.
Also for chocolate lovers (me) compulsory stop in the Valrhona chocolate emporium to free load on kilos of chocolate samples prior to staggering out financially much lighter and also feeling slightly queazy...
Every southwards, an hours drive and we are in the Legendary vineyards of Chateauneuf du Pape. Big meaty reds and rich complex whites. Pack in two tastings in the morning then enjoy a relaxed picnic in the vineyards by the old château. Dramatic scenery. Afternoon cruise through the hills to the east to enjoy Vacqueyras, Cairanne, Gigondas, Beaume de Venise. Delicious reds, whites and rosés. Crossing the Rhone by Avignon to cool off with the world famous rosés at Tavel and Lirac.
You’ll need to ensure you do plenty of spitting as alcohol levels can be high, as is the temperature ! Villeneuve les Avignon is a quieter option than Avignon for a tranquil night. While here there should be a visit to the jaw droppingly staggering roman aqueduct at Pont du Gard. Taking in everything this region has to offer requires at least a week!