The Rhône is generally divided into two sub-regions with distinct viticultural traditions, the Northern Rhône (referred to in French as Rhône septentrional) and the Southern Rhône (in French Rhône méridional). The northern sub-region (only 3500 ha. under vine) with its continental climate and the cold Mistral wind produces red wines from the Syrah grape which can be blended with white wine grapes, usually co-planted and co-fermented, such as Viognier.
Dating back to Roman times, these vineyards are some of the oldest in France. Mostly south-facing, the vines are staked in an unusual teepee arrangement on some of the most vertiginous slopes in the viticultural world. the vineyards are so steep that pulley systems have to be used for grapes and equipment and one of the regions top growers, Gilles Barge even installed a mono-rail funicular.
Syrah is the only red grape variety permitted in red AOC wines from this sub-region. The grape, which is believed to have originated in or close to the Rhône region, is also widely known as Shiraz in Australia. For wines bearing the Cornas AOC designation, Syrah must be used exclusively, whereas other reds from the northern Rhône sub-region may be blended with white wine grapes, either Viognier or Marsanne and Roussanne, depending on the appellation. However, while this is allowed by the AOC rules, blending with white grapes is most broadly utilized in Côte-Rôtie.
Our Northern Rhône appellations -
Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Saint Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage and Cornas.