France, Ardèche (07), Tournon sur Rhone, la ville et les vignobles
France, Rhône (69), Ampuis, vigne AOC Côte Rôtie (vue aérienne)
Avignon Bridge with Popes Palace and Rhone river, Provence, France
RDC-1305002 - © - Arco / J. Pfeiffer
Small villages and large vineyards
The Rhone Valley is birthplace to a thousand bouquets of wine broken down into three colours. With each domain visit, awaken your taste buds and learn from the winemakers the history of their land shaped by natural elements. Of the six departments covered by this wine route, immerse yourself in visits of castles and gourmet museums. And remember, the French vineyard has no better companion than the cuisine of its terroirs…
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The appellation of Côtes du Rhône begins south of Lyon with the vineyards of Seyssuel, revived twenty years ago after a century of oblivion. Next come the Grands Crus with the steeply sloped vineyards from Côte-Rôtie, the northern whites of Condrieu and the terraced hillsides of St-Joseph. In Tain l’Hermitage, start with a gourmet visit to the city of chocolate, Valrhona. Either hop on le Petit Train des Vignes that travels the surrounding hills or opt for an electric bike ride before tasting the famous Crozes-Hermitage. The Chapoutier and Jaboulet Elder houses are ready to welcome you!
On the right bank of the Rhone, are Cornas and Saint-Peray, where only sparkling wine from the Côtes du Rhône is cultivated, offer very different wines. Left of the river, the city of Valencia can be covered in 2 hours unless you’re tempted by its fascinating Museum of Art and Archaeology recently renovated in the Episcopal palace. 30km to the south, between Livron-sur-Drôme and Allex, taste the wine of Brézème, the most southernmost of the northern appellations of Côtes du Rhône. For dessert, there’s the Palais du Bonbon and the nougat of Montélimar!
Not far from the château made famous by the family of Sévigné, the vineyards of Grignan-les-Adhemar sit alongside the lavenders of the Drôme Provençale, in the southern part of the Rhone Valley. Then mingle the land of appellation Côtes du Rhône Villages, where each wine reveals an identity of winegrower and hillsides. Far beyond the disputes of AOC, there are many charming villages to visit: Visan, Rasteau, Vinsobres, Beaumes de Venice and Gigondas. In Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the Castelain artisan chocolaterie offers the perfect match of a wine and chocolate workshop.
Pass the right bank to reach Roquemaure where the Cru de Lirac begins, an unusual AOC available in three colours. Right beside it, the Cru de Tavel has the peculiarity of producing only rosé, with a rich and powerful bouquet. You’ll have to go further towards Nîmes and Alès to find the noble vineyards of the Duchy of Uzés, whose history dates back 2,000 years, but the AOC … to 2012. A few kilometres west of Avignon, the Signargues appellation is a red AOC shared between four small communes. Upon your arrival in the city of the popes, listen to the Rhone singing below from the famous Pont Saint-Benezet.
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