Northern Rhone

Generally cooler than the South, the Northern Rhone is synonymous with France's indigenous 'Hermitage' (Syrah) as well as white varieties such as Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne (the latter often blended with the reds). Within a narrow band of vineyards along the Rhone river from Vienne to Valence, the leading appellations here are Hermitage and Cote-Rotie, (Condrieu for whites). Crozes-Hermitage, Cornas and St.Joseph also offer distinctive, (and more affordable) expressions, though the wines are less age-worthy.
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1996 Chapoutier Ermitage l'Ermite

1996 Chapoutier Ermitage l'Ermite

$699.00 Bottle
2003 Chapoutier Le Meal Ermitage

2003 Chapoutier Le Meal Ermitage

$499.00 Bottle
2010 Delas Freres Hermitage les Bessards

2010 Delas Freres Hermitage les Bessards

$399.00 Bottle
2010 Delas Freres Cote Rotie la Landonne

2010 Delas Freres Cote Rotie la Landonne

$299.00 Bottle
2015 Delas Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon

2015 Delas Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon

$69.99 Bottle
2015 Delas Saint-Joseph Saint-Epine

2015 Delas Saint-Joseph Saint-Epine

$120.00 Bottle
2015 Delas Cote-Rotie La Landonne

2015 Delas Cote-Rotie La Landonne

$399.00 Bottle
2009 Delas Freres St Joseph Ste Epine

2009 Delas Freres St Joseph Ste Epine

$95.00 Bottle
2009 Delas Freres Hermitage les Bessards

2009 Delas Freres Hermitage les Bessards

$399.00 Bottle
2007 Guigal Cote Rotie la Turque

2007 Guigal Cote Rotie la Turque

$699.99 Bottle
2012 Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne

2012 Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne

$799.00 Bottle
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Wind, Rocks & Vines.

Often perched on dizzying gradients, granitic and schistous soils form foundations for the steeply sloped vineyards of Cote Rotie and Hermitage. Since the topsoil here is prone to erosion, the construction of terraces is common. The Northern Rhone is subject to greater seasonal temperature differences than the South (hot summers and severe winters), and the Mistral wind also influences viticulture. Blowing down from the Massif Central, it's both a blessing and a curse, reducing yields but also drying the vineyards, so preventing diseases such as mildew from taking hold.

Northern Rhone wine styles & regions.

Generally speaking, the Syrah (Shiraz) based wines are medium to full-bodied, with aromas and flavours of smoke, game, grilled meat, mineral and white pepper. Several appellations permit small percentages of white grapes to be blended into the reds, usually co-fermented. For example, in the Côte-Rôtie, up to 20% Viognier may be added. In Hermitage / Crozes-Hermitage, a total of 15% Marsanne & Roussanne is allowed. St-Joseph may include up to 10% Marsanne and Roussanne. The aim of co-fermenting and blending is to create more fragrant and delicate wines.

While Hermitage is home to the most prestigious sites, including climats such as le Méal, les Bessards, Gréffieux, Beaume and Péléat, Cote-Rotie is a close second. Here Guigal's special bottlings of La Mouline, La Landonne and La Turque, (aka the 'La-La wines'), have become some of the most sought-after bottles in the wine-world. Behind the hill of Hermitage are the vineyards of Crozes-Hermitage producing generally lighter and less long-lived wines, although the best examples can approach Hermitage in quality (and be significantly more affordable). Smaller, and arguably under-rated appellations such as Cornas, St. Joseph and Saint-Péray produce full bodied, entry-level, early drinking reds offering a great introduction to the region's style.

Buy Hermitage & Cote-Rotie from Guigal, Chapoutier and more online.

When you purchase Rhone reds from Nicks Wine Merchants you can get them delivered to most areas of Australia. We also taste and rate much of the range and/or offer third party reviews to further guide you in your choice.