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.