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Ultimate Guide to the Rhone Valley Wine Region

Some of today’s most popular wines hail from the Rhône Valley region in southern France. See more wine pictures. ­
Phillippee Colombi/Photodisc/Getty Images

­Sure, you know Champagne and Bordeaux, the celebrities of the French wine world. But how familiar are you with the wines of the Rhône Valley wine region? It ­is an ingénue by comparison. Although some of today's most popular French wines hail from this region, they were virtually unknown outside of France just 30 years ago.

A wine producer starting back in B.C. times, you might assume the Rhône Valley wine region has a long history of producing top wines. In reality, after about 500 years of wine production, the region produced little wine for almost a millennium. In this article, you'll learn about the Rhône Valley wine region's history and culture, its varied agriculture, which allows for a variety of grapes and wines, and some of the best appellations and wines from the region. Divided into two basic sub-regions, the northern Rhône Valley and the southern Rhône Valley, the region produces many wines. They range from reds to roses to whites, using everything from a single grape to a blend of more than a dozen in a single wine.

­The Rhône Valley is home to the popular Syrah grape that makes up many of the well-known Rhône reds. Another popular Rhône grape is the Viognier. Essentially, Rhône Valley vintners single-handedly saved this white grape from extinction, thereby allowing it to enjoy a newfound renaissance of sorts. It's now used in a variety of wines, and wine lovers everywhere can toast to the region's beneficial preservation efforts.

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