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Rhône Vineyard Sunshine

Rhône Vineyard Sunshine

Rhône vineyards have been largely spared by the disasters that recently hit many French vintners. Here’s a snapshot of a region overflowing with wine treasures — and so much more.

From north to south, Rhône Valley wine country covers less than 250 kilometres — shorter than the distance between Québec and Montréal. Never-theless, between the northern terraces, where Syrah gently matures, to the hillsides of Gigondas and Vacqueyras, where Grenache and Mourvèdre make luscious and powerful wines, the contrasts can seem drastic. And in between, almost every-thing on the spectrum can be found, including some surprisingly energetic wines.

Whether you like robust reds or easy-drinking rosés, the Rhône region has you covered. Especially because, for some years now, reds here have been demonstrating their capacity for a solid dose of freshness. Notes of garrigue and bright fruit are often front and centre, with alcohol levels that aren’t necessarily as high as you’d expect.

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Fair weather

From 2015 to 2017, Rhône winemakers also produced vintages that were impressive in both quantity and quality, while much of France suffered frost, hail and erratic weather. Each of the two major areas had its moment in the sun. The 2015 vintage is considered one of the best in the past 40 years for the north kingdom of Syrah, while 2016 was a banner year for the south, with lots of long-aging wines and exceptional whites as well. A smaller harvest in terms of volume, 2017 also produced wines with lots of character.

Relevant rosé

While the Rhône Valley remains first and foremost a land of red wine (four out of five bottles), its palette of colours has clearly changed in recent years. The worldwide rise in demand for rosé has caught up with the region and the production of this refreshing libation now counts for nearly 15 percent of wine made here, thanks to particularly versatile varietals (Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Syrah…). Whites, still a bit underappreciated, make up 7 percent of the Rhône’s total production.

Nature and nurture

An exceptional wine-producing region, the Rhône Valley is also filled with wondersof nature and culture. From the impressive silhouette of Mt. Ventoux, the unique panorama of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountain chain, the majestic Ardèche river gorges, the Roman Theatre of Orange, to the Pont du Gard Aqueduct, the region is ripe with amazing sights and sites.

Pairing paradise

Rhône reds, in their more broad-shouldered versions (such as cuvée Prestige by Château Pesquié), can certainly be paired to perfection with game or grilled meats, but that’s not Rhône country wine’s only dinner table trick. Rosé for apéro, a fruitier and spicier red (think Rasteau by Benjamin Brunel) with charcuterie, silkier wines with stews, and whites like Côtes-du-Rhône by Guigal with poultry or plumper fish, like salmon or tuna. The options are almost endless.

Château Pesquié Prestige Édition 1912m

$15.70

Château Pesquié Prestige Édition 1912m

Red wine750 mlFrance
Château Pesquié Prestige Édition 1912m

Château Pesquié Prestige Édition 1912m

$15.70

Red wine750 mlFrance, Vallée du RhôneSAQ code : 00743922
  • Grape variety(ies):
  • Grenache, 
  • Syrah
Benjamin Brunel Rasteau

$19.95

Benjamin Brunel Rasteau

Red wine750 mlFrance
Benjamin Brunel Rasteau

Benjamin Brunel Rasteau

$19.95

Red wine750 mlFrance, Vallée du RhôneSAQ code : 00123778
Not available onlineSee quantity in stores
E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2017

$20.15

E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2017

White wine750 mlFrance
E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2017

E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2017

$20.15

White wine750 mlFrance, Vallée du RhôneSAQ code : 00290296
  • Grape variety(ies):
  • Viognier, 
  • Roussanne, 
  • Marsanne, 
  • Bourboulenc

 

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