France's second largest wine growing area. The red wines from the Rhône Valley are focused on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grapes which produce bold and spicy blends. The white wines may include Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Clairette, Bourboulenc and Grenache Blanc.
Rhône Valley (North)
The Syrah grape is the dominate red grape grown in the north.
Côte-Rôtie - Produces only red wines from the Syrah grape.
Condrieu - Makes white wine exclusively from Viognier.
Château Grillet - It is unusual among France's wine appellations, not only for being one of the smallest in terms of geographical area, but also for being one of very few to be occupied only by a single producer. Chateau Grillet's wine is made entirely from Viognier.
Crozes-Hermitage - Produces both red and white wines. Around 90 percent of Crozes-Hermitage wines are red, and made predominantly from Syrah. The other 10 percent are white Crozes-Hermitage Blanc wines made from Roussanne and Marsanne. These two white wine varieties are also used to a small extent in many of the red wines.
Cornas - Produces only red wines exclusively from the Syrah grape.
Diois - The Diois district (the area around Die) is one of France's more geographically isolated wine districts. Clairette de Die is an appellation for sparkling white wines from the area around the town of Die, in the low alpine foothills of the eastern Rhone Valley. It is one of only two sparkling wine appellations in the Rhone region (the other being Saint-Péray).
St. Joseph - The Saint-Joseph appellation produces both red wines made mainly from Syrah, and white wines made from Marsanne and Roussanne.
Hermitage - Both red and white Hermitage wines are produced. The red wines are produced exclusively from Syrah. The whites are made predominantly from Marsanne with some Roussanne.
Saint-Péray - One of only two sparkling wine appellations in the Rhone region. Also produces still wines from the Marsanne and Roussanne grapes.
Rhône Valley (South)
The Southern Rhône Valley is much larger than the Northern valley. Here, Grenache is the leading grape grown but Mourvedre, Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan are also widely grown.
Beaumes de Venise - Best known for its sweet Muscat-based wines. Also produces Grenache and Syrah-based wines.
These are the top-level of quality and most famous of the Southern Rhone wine villages.
Grapes used in wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape include:
Red Grapes - Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Counoise, Muscardin, Terret Noir and Vacarese
White Grapes - Bourboulenc, Clairette Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Picardan, Piquepoul Blanc and Rousanne
Cotes du Rhône - Largest AOC, accounting for two-thirds of Rhône's production. Cotes du Rhône is a region-wide appellation for red, rosé and white wines covering the entire Rhône Valley. It includes more than 170 villages. A small proportion of the appellation's wines are white, but the best known Cotes du Rhône wine is a fruity, mid-weight red blend based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre (GSM blends).
Cotes du Rhône Villages - This appellation produces red and white wines. All are in the southern half of the Rhône region. Wines made under this appellation must meet higher standards than those of the plain Cotes de Rhône designation.
Gigondas - In the southern Rhône valley, this appellation is best known for Grenache-based red and rosé wines.
Lirac - Located on the western side of the southern Rhône Valley. The wines are mostly full-bodied reds along with a significant amount of rosé. Lirac produces a small amount whites from Clairette, Grenache Blanc and Bourboulenc.
Rasteau - Best known for their sweet red vin doux naturel, they also produce dry red and rosé wines based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, and white wines.
Tavel - Tavel is located in the southern Rhône valley and specializes in dry rosé wines made mostly from the Grenache, Syrah and Clairette grapes.
Vacqueyras - Producing red, white and rosé wines, Vacqueyras wines are required to contain only 50% Grenache. The remaining percentage is made up of Syrah and Mourvedre, with an addition of 10% of any of the other Cotes du Rhône varieties, excluding Carignan.
Vinsobres - Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes make up the majority of this appellation's red wines.