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The Rhone is one of the most rewarding wine regions for value and excellence.  The range of styles from pleasant drinking wines to highly complex ageworthy wines is also noteworthy.  The wines offer truly excellent value, especially when comparing it to the great regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy. 

The Northern Rhone is where Syrah is principally grown for the reds and Marsanne, Rousanne and Viognier for the whites. Overwhelmingly the reds outpace the whites in terms of production and sales. The Rhone river, one of the mast famous wine rivers in all of France, links the southerly vineyards of Chateaneuf-du-Pape to the Fendant du Valais all the way up north by Switzerland. In between this large swath of land you have famous appellations such as Crozes-Hermitage, Cote-Rotie, Cornas in the North and Vacqueyras, Lirac and most famously Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the South. The Southern Rhone is where Grenache rules the roost but many other grapes are grown and in fact all 13 Southern Rhone varietals are legally allowed in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the Southen Rhones most famous appellation.

This was a largely undiscovered region in and outside of France where Hermitage was most famous for beefing up Burgundy and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. That all changed when Robert Parker of the Wine Advocate started championing the wines. The 1990 vintage was extraordinary and that really put the wines on the map. The Northern Rhone really shot up in price, especially the Guigal La La's (single vineyard Cote-Roties of wonderful pedigree that Parker constantly bestowed 95-100 pt scores on). 1998 was the time for Chateauneuf-du-Pape to shoot up as that was an exceptional vintage. CDP was a great bargain up until after this vintage. 1998 definitely was the last vintage where you could get Le Vieux Donjon for $18.99 a bottle. It is around $55 a bottle today. 

One of the main differences between the Northern and Southern Rhone, besides climate, topography and soil is who the wines are generally marketed towards. The Northern Rhone with its small production vineyards like Cornas and Hermitage are aimed at the fine wine buying public while the Southern Rhone is marketed and aimed towards the general public, due to its high output of value wines under the Cotes-du-Rhone and Cotes-du-Rhone Villages appellations. This is a very important point as people are usually dumbfounded by the typically higher prices from the Northern Rhone until they realize the incredibly small production when compared to the South.

Northern Rhone
Clairette de Die
Cremant de Die
Costieres de Nimes
Coteaux de Die
Coteaux du Tricastin
Cotes de Luberon
Cotes de Ventoux
Cotes de Vivarais
Vin de Pays de Vaucluse