Rhone Valley, France

The Rhone River nourishes the center of France from Lyon to the Mediterranean Sea. It was the Roman “road” to the center of Europe in antiquity and today the center of a wine and food culture from the south to the north, from Châteauneuf du Pape to Côte Rôtie

France's original Wine Route extends from the center of the country to the sea

Wine, Food, Culture

Our tour starts in the north, near Lyon, the great rival to Paris, in the vineyards of Condrieu and Cote Rotie. From there will travel south through Hermitage and end in Chateauneuf du Pape, the sunny south of the Rhone valley. Along the way, we will visit wineries, historic sites and terrific restaurants.

Côte-Rôtie and the North
Syrah is the dominant grape in the north of the Rhone valley.
However, in Condrieu, the micro-appellation in the north, we find Viognier. Cote Rotie (the “roasted slope”) wines are powerful and need time to age in bottle. Condrieu wines are unique in the world with the scents of pungent flowers, ripe apricot and rose petal.

In the center of the valley Hermitage is also home to the Syrah grape variety. But the valley turns east to west at the site of the  vineyard (not north to south as in Cote Rotie) and so the wines are exceptionally powerful, more so than the wines of Cote Rotie. The vineyard is named for a religious hermit whose abode is in the vineyards to this day.

Châteauneuf du Pape and the South
In the south, the great vineyard of Chateauneuf du Pape (the “new castle of the Pope”) named for the establishment of the papacy from Rome in 1309 to 1377. These wines are again special: grown in soils that are pure river rock, stones that reflect the heat in the evening, and grown from more than 13 different grape varieties. Chateauneuf du Pape wines are powerful, delicious, overwhelming in texture (like rich cashmere wool). Our tour will take you to the best wineries.

Food in the Rhone divides between north and south. In the south, olive oil-based cooking is the general rule, in the north butter takes over. In the south, vegetables are on center stage.
Ratatouille (eggplants, tomato, zucchini, garlic), delicious with white wines; grilled lamb, delicious with red wines; socca (a crisp chickpea flat bread), delicious with all wines, red and white; tapenade (thick black olive paste used as a garnish or spread on bread), delicious with red and white wines; nougat (egg whites, honey, nuts), delicious with red and sweet wines. In the north, specialties include salade lyonnaise with eggs, bacon, croutons and mustard; quenelle, fish “sausages” gently poached and served with a mustardy cream sauce, delicious with Condrieu; Charcuterie de Lyon (all manner of sausages, some with pastry crusts), delicious with red and white wines; Saint-Marcellin cheese, creamy and pungent, delicious with red and whites wines and often served with apricot jam as a dessert.

Irresistible experiences are waiting for you in Rhone Valley

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