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?
What is the translation of Cote Rotie?
What wines can be produced in Cote Rotie?
Which varietals are used in Cote Rotie?
Syrah and Viognier
How is Viognier used in Cote Rotie?
In small amounts and blended with Syrah
What percentage of wine blends can Viognier make up?
Up to 20%
Describe wines of Côte Rôtie
Aromatic, floral freshness and textural elegance, distinct from Hermitage
What colours of wine are made in Condrieu?
Which grapes are used in Condrieu?
Where do the best wines of Condrieu come from?
Low-yielding, old vines
Steep, well-exposed terraced vineyards
Where is Chateau Grillet? Describe it and its wines
It's a single property appellation within Cote Rotie
Wines very similar to those of CR
Where is Saint-Joseph?
Along the western bank of the Rhone, between Condrieu and Tournon
What style are the majority of Saint-Joseph wines?
Reds made from Syrah
What is the 'other' style of wine made in Saint-Joseph?
Whites made from Marsanne/Roussanne
Where are the best wines of Saint-Joseph found?
Terraced vineyards near Tournon
Just south of Condrieu
Describe the best wines of Saint-Joseph
Flavour intensity and structure similar to Hermitage
Where do the high-volume wines of Saint-Joseph come from?
The more fertile, flatter sites of the valley floor
The plateaux above the valley
Describe the high-volume wines of Saint-Joseph
Often incorporating carbonic maceration
Expressing pepper perfume aspects of Syrah
What are the lightest-bodied wines of the Northern Rhone?
High volume reds of Saint-Joseph
Where is Hermitage?
On a steep, south-facing slope behind Tain-l'Hermitage
What is a lieux-dit?
A named vineyard site
How is Hermitage arranged?
It's organised into a number of lieux-dits
What is the benefit of Hermitage's lieux-dit system?
They all vary in steepness and aspect, giving wines of subtly different body and style
How are lieux-dits used when making wines of Hermitage?
They have traditionally been blends, but some now use single lieux-dits
What is the fullest bodied of the Northern Rhone wines?
What else may be fermented with Syrah in Hermitage wines?
Marsanne and Roussanne
How much Marsanne and Roussanne may be fermented with Syrah in Hermitage wines?
Up to 15%
What colours of wine are made in Hermitage?
Red and white
What are the white wines of Hermitage made from?
Marsanne and Roussanne
What is the most common use of Marsanne and Roussanne in Hermitage?
To make white wines
What proportion of Hermitage's production do white wines account for?
About a fifth
What is the most important Northern Rhone appellation in terms of production volume?
Where are the vineyards of Crozes-Hermitage?
On mixed terrain around the hill of Hermitage
Describe the topography of Crozes-Hermitage in relation to Hermitage
North: Vineyards are on slopes
South: On a flat plain
What are the wines of Crozes-Hermitage made of?
Up to 15% Marsanne/Roussanne
What quality, style and price are the wines of Crozes-Hermitage?
They vary wildly depending on location
Where are the lighter wines of Crozes-Hermitage from?
The higher-yielding, flatter sites to the south
What are the wines like from the northern sites of Crozes-Hermitage?
More concentrated, complex and tannic
What is the role of oak in Crozes-Hermitage?
Some of the more expensive wines may be aged in oak
What colours of wine are produced in Crozes-Hermitage?
Mostly red but some white
What is the most southerly of the Northern Rhone's appellations?
What colour of wine is produced in Cornas?
What is the warmest of the Northern Rhone appellations?
Where are the vineyards of Cornas?
On the south facing slopes of the Rhone's lateral valleys
Describe the vineyards of Cornas
Sheltered from wind, well-exposed, sun-baked and south-facing
Which grapes are allowed in Cornas?
Describe the wines of Cornas
Similar style/quality to Hermitage