Describe the Rhone Valley in the Northern Rhone
It is quite narrow and steep
Vineyards mainly planted close to the river
The best northern Rhone vineyards occupy...with...
Southerly facing aspect
What is the general location/situation of the Northern Rhone's best vineyards?
In lateral valleys that feed into the Rhone
What is the benefit of the best vineyards of the Rhone being in lateral valleys?
The vines are better protected from the cold northerly winds
What is the name of the cold northerly wind in the Rhone valley?
Why is the Mistral a threat to Rhone vines?
It can easily damage them
How are vines typically supported in the Northern Rhone?
By individual stakes or tepee-like arrangements of stakes
What is the climate of the Northern Rhone?
Similar to Beaujolais
Noticeably warmer in the Southern Rhone
How many red grapes are permitted in the Northern Rhone?
What is the only red grape permitted in the Northern Rhone?
Which Rhone grape is at the very northern limit of where it can ripen successfully?
Describe the Syrah wines of the Northern Rhone
Medium to high tannins
Black fruit and sometimes black pepper or floral aromas
What is the role of oak in Northern Rhone based Syrah wines?
It is dependant on the winemaker Some use new oak for heir best wines Some use older oak or larger barrels
What winemaking practice was traditionally practiced in a number of Northern Rhone Crus but is now rarely seen?
Fermenting Syrah with white varieties
What is the role of white grapes when fermented with Syrah in the Northern Rhone?
It can help to stabilise the colour extraction from the red grapes
It can add an aromatic intensity to the grapes (Viognier particularly)
Describe wines made from Viognier in the Northern Rhone
Full bodied whites
Flavours of blossom and apricots/stone fruits
Why is Viognier typically high alcohol and low in acidity?
It doesn't usually develop its signature aromas/flavours until very late in the season, when they reached a very high level of sugar ripeness
Why do Viognier grapes need very careful handling in the winery?
So that they do not develop an overtly oily character that can overwhelm the varietal aromas
What is the role of new oak in the vinification of Viognier?
It is being increasingly used, but must be handled carefully so that the oak aromas do not easily overwhelm the primary aromas
What is the 'other' style of Viognier made in the Northern Rhone?
Some are made in an off-dry style from late-harvested grapes
Which other white grapes are grown in the Northern Rhone?
Marsanne and Rousanne
How are Marsanne and Rousanne usually used in the Northern Rhone?
They are usually blended together
What characteristics do Marsanne and Roussanne individually offer to a wine?
Marsanne: Richness and weight
Roussanne: Acidity and perfumed fruit
How are Marsanne/Roussanne blends generally characterised?
They are not as aromatically intense as Viognier wines, but can age well and develop complex hazelnut aromas
Which typically Souther Rhone wine can also be made in the Northern Rhone?
Cotes du Rhone
Describe the appellation system of the Northern Rhone
Most Northern Rhone wines come from one of the cru appellations
Describe a common attribute between Northern Rhone crus
They are often tiny
What are the two Northern Rhone crus which cover a significant area?
Around which town are the vineyards of Cote Rotie?
What is the most northerly appellation of the Northern Rhone?