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The Rhône, North and South

by Tom Wolf

12-Bottle Sampler

The Rhône, North and South

France   |   Southern Rhône

$295.00 $369.95
Normally $369.95
(a 20% discount)

This item does not take further discounts

The Rhône River, which tethers Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea, flows west from the lake until it reaches Lyon, when it turns south and keeps going until it empties out just past Arles. The most important thing to know about the Rhône Valley—for our purposes, the stretch of the river between Lyon and Avignon—is that it is divided into two very different wine regions.
      The northern Rhône is defined by a cooler, more continental climate, granitic soils, and some of the most dramatic hillside vineyards in the world. The great wines of the northern Rhône are often made with a single grape variety, whether Syrah (for reds), or Marsanne, Roussanne, or Viognier (for whites). The character and structure of the reds varies by appellation, but what makes northern Rhône Syrah so special in general—epitomized by Jean-Claude Marsanne’s “Syrah Mauve” cuvée—is its terroir transparency as well as the grape’s beguiling flavors of dark fruit accompanied by hints of black olive and smoke.
      The southern Rhône, by contrast, is defined by abundant warmth and sunshine, diverse and striking soils—such as the famed galets roulés you’ll find across the region—and the prevalence of the fragrant herbs called garrigue that surround vineyards, imparting their intoxicating aromas to the wines. Southern Rhône cuvées are mostly blends, with Grenache most often playing the leading role in reds and rosés, with a supporting and rotating cast including Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre. The whites, meanwhile, often comprise some mix of Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Roussanne, Bourboulenc, and Viognier. In all three colors, bottles from the southern Rhône tend to showcase a visceral earthy, stony, garrigue-forward personality that reminds you of the distinctive soil and vegetation in this slice of France.
      These two regions produce world-class wines. If there is any thread tying them together, it is that, whether white, rosé, or red, whether from the north or the south, a sublime bottle from the Rhône delivers a meal unto itself, with mesmerizing flavors, texture, and complexity.

Sampler Includes:

2020 Vin de Pays de Vaucluse Blanc  •  Domaine de Durban  $15
2020 Vin de Pays de Vaucluse Blanc “Le Pigeoulet”  •  Famille Brunier  $22
2018 Saint-Joseph Blanc  •  Domaine Jean-Claude Marsanne  $59
2020 Tavel Rosé  •  Château de Trinquevedel  $21
2019 Côtes du Rhône “Cuvée Kermit Lynch”  •  Selected by Kermit Lynch  $12.95
2020 Vin de Pays de Vaucluse Rouge  •  Domaine de Durban  $14
2016 Côtes-du-Vivarais Rouge  •  Domaine Gallety  $29
2019 Ardèche Syrah “Syrah Mauve”  •  Domaine Jean-Claude Marsanne  $35
2019 Saint Joseph Rouge  •  Lionel Faury  $37
2017 Crozes-Hermitage  •  Barruol / Lynch  $40
2019 Vacqueyras Rouge “Cuvée Floureto”  •  Domaine Le Sang des Cailloux  $40
2018 Gigondas “Terrasse du Diable”  •  Domaine Les Pallières $45

$295.00 $369.95
Normally $369.95
(a 20% discount)

More from this Producer or Region

About Southern Rhône

map of Southern Rhône

The southern Rhône valley is Grenache country. It’s also known for its stones. With a viticulture history dating back well before the Popes arrived in the 12th century and one of France’s oldest appellations d'origine contrôlée, Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe, the southern Rhône is unquestionably one of France’s best known and premier winegrowing regions. The wines have the pedigree and age-worthiness of Burgundy and Bordeaux, but with a rustic, Mediterranean character. Like most wines from southern France, the reds, whites, and rosés are blends. Filling out the Grenache for the reds and rosés, you’ll often find Syrah, Carignan, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault. The common white grape varieties are Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Viognier, Roussane, and Marsanne among others. From the alluvial riverbed stones found in Lirac, Tavel, and Châteauneuf to the limestone cliffs of the Dentelles de Montmirail that influence Beaumes-de-Venise (where you’ll find excellent Muscat), Vacqueyras, and Gigondas, great terroir abounds.

Kermit’s entrance in the region came in the mid 1970s on his first trip with Richard Olney, an American ex-pat and friend of Alice Waters. On that trip, Richard introduced Kermit to the Brunier family of Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe. Soon after, Kermit began importing the Brunier’s wines—their Châteauneuf-du-Pape “La Crau” bottling remains a staple of our portfolio today. In the late 1990s Kermit teamed up with the Brunier family to purchase the famed Gigondas estate, Domaine Les Pallières. More than 40 years later, we now import wines from fifteen southern Rhône domaines spanning the entire area of the region.

More from Southern Rhône or France

2018 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “La Crau” MAGNUM

Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Châteauneuf-du-Pape


2020 Côtes-du-Rhône “Sierra du Sud”

Domaine Gramenon  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Côtes-du-Rhône


2019 Gigondas “Racines”

Domaine Les Pallières  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Gigondas


2019 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Piedlong”

Famille Brunier  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Châteauneuf-du-Pape


2020 Gigondas

Domaine du Durban  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Gigondas


2019 Vacqueyras Rouge “Floureto”

Domaine Le Sang des Cailloux  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Vacqueyras


2020 Tavel Rosé

Château de Trinquevedel  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Tavel


2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “La Crau”

Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Châteauneuf-du-Pape


2019 Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge “Il Fait Soif”

Maxime-François Laurent  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Côtes du Rhône


2020 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc “Clos la Roquète”

Frédéric & Daniel Brunier  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Châteauneuf-du-Pape


When buying red Burgundy, I think we should remember:

1. Big wines do not age better than light wine.
2. A so-called great vintage at the outset does not guarantee a great vintage for the duration.
3. A so-called off vintage at the outset does not mean the wines do not have a brilliant future ahead of them.
4. Red Burgundy should not taste like Guigal Côte-Rôtie, even if most wine writers wish it would.
5. Don’t follow leaders; watch yer parking meters.

Inspiring Thirst, page 174

Kermit once said...

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