The Southern Rhône is situated in a large, sprawling valley, shaped by the course of the Rhône River. A Mediterranean climate makes the Southern Rhône Valley one of the warmest wine growing regions in France.
Grape varieties that thrive in the region are well-suited to the hot, humid summers, and Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre are by far the most common plantings.
The vast majority of Rhône wines found on the market are labeled as Côtes du Rhône AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée). Many are excellent and inexpensive, making them one of the most consumer-friendly French wines to explore. Stylistically, they are rich, easy-drinking wines with moderate tannins and alcohol levels that fall between 14-15%.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is one of the better-known sub-regions of the Southern Rhône, and while the wines can be somewhat expensive, the quality is generally exceptional.
Grenache is by far the predominant grape found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape blends, and lends jammy red and black fruit notes along with flavors of earth, leather and spice and dried herbs.
The Southern Rhône also produces white wines, though in much smaller portion, typically these are made from Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier. Rosé wines can be found as well and Tavel is famous for its vibrant, slightly spicy, salmon-hued rosés.