Northern Rhone

The Northern Rhone is home to some of the world's finest red wines. Appelations such as Hermitage and Cote Rotie have long been favoured by the world's fine wine collectors, conjuring up wonderful images of deeply complex, heady, and robust examples of Syrah. Here, the best wines hail from steep slopes that flank the Rhone, generally over granite soils. These steep vineyards amplify the warm continental climate of the Northern Rhone, radiating and moderating warmth from the river as well as exposing the vines to the cooler breezes carried by the Mistral. This is not without its risks however; on the one hand it helps retain bright, fresh acidities (particularly beneficial in appelations such as Cote Rotie and Condrieu) but too much and flowering can be hampered, coupled with the inevitable risk of soil erosion in vineyards this steep. Combined, these factors make the vineyards notoriously difficult to work, but - done properly - the results speak for themselves: stunning wines inflected with all the hallmarks of great Syrah and Viognier - concentrated fruit, sophisticated spice and minerality, not to mention longevity. Alongside the mighty Hermitage and Cote Rotie, other stars of the Northern Rhone include Cornas, St Joseph and Crozes Hermitage, which together produce some of the most exciting and best value wines in all of France.

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