Côte Rôtie 2005, Domaine Burgaud
The Rhone Valley stretches almost 500 miles from North to South and is home to some of France's oldest vine plantings that were first cultivated in Roman Times. The region is split into Northern and Southern Rhone, both of which are very contrasting regions. From the North, the appellations of Hermitage and Cote Rotie produce some of the most famous and rare wines from Syrah, harvested from the very steep slopes carved into the hillsides. It is also here that the world's best Viognier is produced from the Condrieu appellation.
Heading to the warmer South and a sizeable 13 grape varieties are permitted in the appellations, with Grenache appearing as the predominant red varietal, most famously celebrated in the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The range of grapes grown also provides refreshing alternatives to Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Pinot, Cabernet and Merlot.
When compared to the wines offered from France's other leading winemaking areas, the wines of the Rhone Valley are comparatively cheap. As well as offering plenty of diversity from North to South, the area therefore produces some of the best value wines in the world. This, coupled with an incredible run of excellent vintages over the past 10 years, makes the Rhone Valley one of the most exciting and attractive wine producing regions in the world.