The 9 Best Wines of
the Côtes du Rhône

BY France | Provence

Stretching from just south of Lyon all the way up to Avignon, the extensive Rhone wine region runs 200 kilometres (120 miles) north to south, making it the second-largest AOC wine region in all of France (second only to Bordeaux).

The Rhone has over 2,000 years of winemaking pedigree, as it was the Roman Empire that installed vineyards into some of its finest terroirs. In addition to experience, the region also has the most diverse soils in France, allowing it to produce wine in a variety of styles.

By the Numbers

A Brief Overview of Rhone Valley Wine Production

Awash with sun, about 90 percent of the region’s output is red wine, which thrives in sunny climes.

There are also some delicious rosés, making up six to seven percent of all output, and a small production of whites. Approximately 24 different grape varietals are used, but Grenache is the star, accounting for about 65 percent of all grapes planted.

With such a wide depth and breadth of selection to choose from, narrowing down the best Rhone wines can be a challenge – and one I’m more happy than happy to undertake!

With the help of B&R’s circle of wine experts, I’ve pulled together the below list of our favorites, each of which is worth a taste – or better yet, a visit to the winery!


The 9 Best Rhone Valley Wines

Domaine Clos de Trias

AOC Ventoux, near la Barroux

Owner/winemaker Even Bakke is a Norwegian-American who makes excellent reds that he usually ages for five years before releasing, and some very original whites and rosés. His soil is some of the oldest on the planet, from which he chose the name of his winery – he has Triassic soil from over 200 million years ago! His wines are biodynamically minded.

Difficult to visit; appointment required.


Domaine Pique Basse

AOC Cotes du Rhone Village, Roaix area

Owner/winemaker Olivier Tropet is one of the young rising stars of the Rhone. He has various clay and limestone soils and makes very smooth delicious reds, very clean and refreshing whites and rosés.

Difficult to visit; appointment required.

See (and Sip) for Yourself

On B&R’s Provence Luberon Biking trip, stray outside the region’s hotspots to see our favourite hidden gems and soak up authentic Provence. It’s a classic experience—with a twist.

DETAILED ITINERARY

Domaine Ruffinatto

Menerbes, AOC Luberon

This Owner/winemaker is also the mayor of Menerbes and a friend of B&R.

Most of his wines are on limestone soils and he makes a very limited amount of wine, mostly reds with good structure and minerality, while his whites and rosés are fresh and thirst-quenching.

Difficult to visit (unless you’re with B&R, of course); appointment required.


Domaine de la Mordorée

AOC village of Tavel

Robert Parker listed this winery as one of the top 100 in the world.

Original owner/winemaker Christophe Delorme sadly left us last year at the very young age of 52. His wife, daughter and loyal staff are continuing in his footsteps, making some of the most well known wines in the Appellations they produce.

His legendary Tavel rosés are deep and structured. Their white Liracs are complex, with impressive freshness, and the red Lirac & Chateauneuf du Papes are rich and age-worthy.

Winery includes tasting room and all wines are organic.


Chateau St. Cosme

Owner/winemaker Louis Barruol
AOC Gigondas, on the edge of the beautiful village of Gigondas

Owner/winemaker Louis Barruol makes the most impressive AOC Gigondas! His family has owned this winery since 1490 and there are even Roman wine vats carved out of the limestone in the cellar.

Most of his vines are on limestone and clay. If you’re in the area you absolutely must visit, and just hope they have wine left to taste. Louis has a very impressive negociant business where he produces excellent wines from many Rhone Cru Appellations.

Winery includes tasting room.


Domaine Mourchon

Village of Seguret

Situated above the stunning medieval village of Seguret, they make a few different wines, but specialize in AOC Cotes du Rhone Village Seguret. Owner Walter McKinnley, who is half Scottish and half English, is a wonderful gent and gives a fantastic visit of his “James Bond” winery (all done by gravity).

Their soil is mostly intense limestone, which allows them to make deeply structured red wines. They also make a little white and rosé, which are delightful with serious drinkability.

Winery includes tasting room.


Domaine Richaud

AOC Cairanne

Owner/Winemaker Marcel Richaud is an icon and his family are the locomotive of the AOC Cairanne – they were the proponents to bring Cairanne into Cru status this past year. His wines are organic and he has various soils, including clay, limestone, and river rock.

They make intense deep reds, small batches of white and rosés that are delicious. Very little sulphur is added to their wines and they are organic.

Winery includes tasting room.


Domaine le Sang de Cailloux

AOC Vacqueyras, outside of Sarrians

Owner/winemaker Serge Ferigoule, like Marcel Richaud in Cairanne, was one of the three determined men to bring Vacqueyras into Cru status in 1990.

His famous moustache is known for miles, as are his wines. He and his children make two reds and one white. Most of his soil is clay and limestone and they work biodynamically.

Winery includes tasting room.


Domaine Coteaux des Travers

AOC Rasteau

Owner/winemaker Robert Charvin is the former president of the AOC Rasteau. His passion and patience has helped this brilliant, but not well known appellation gain notoriety.

He has blue clay and limestone soils and he works biodynamically. He makes deep, fruity reds and some very tasty sweet VDN (fortified) wines. This Appellation is allowed to make this style of wine and its’ a very small production, but wonderful for certain dishes.

Winery includes tasting room.

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