Southern France’s Rhône Valley is known the world over for its high-quality red, white, and rosé wines.

Established during the last Ice Age, the unique landscape that makes up the highly regarded region was formed when the Rhône Glacier carved its way south through France to create the Rhône River.

Spanning a total of 505 miles from its headwaters in the Swiss Alps through France and into the Mediterranean, vineyards in this region — which date back as far as the 4th century BC — can be found on both sides of the river between Vienne and Avignon and are divided into two sub-regions — the Northern Rhône and the Southern Rhône.

However, while the Northern Rhône and the Southern Rhône have the Rhône River in common, the two sub-regions are distinctly different, each with their own unique geographies, climates, soils, and grape varieties.

Northern Rhône

Northern Cotes du Rhône has cold winters and hot summers. It gets rainfall throughout the year.

The terrain consists of steep hillsides, where the slopes are terraced for cultivating the vine. Grapes are hand-picked.

The full-bodied, elegant Syrah is the dominant red grape in Northern Rhône.

For the whites, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier are grown here.

Northern Rhône is home to eight cru vineyards, including Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage, and Saint-Joseph.

Southern Rhône

The climate in Southern Côtes du Rhône is distinctly more Mediterranean, with long, warm summers and mild winters. There is less rainfall, compared to the north.

Southern wines are primarily made from Grenache noir but are blended with other varietals such as Syrah, Mourvedre and Carignan.

There are nine cru vineyards in Southern Rhône, including Gigondas, Tavel, and the prestigious Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which is the most famous in Rhône Valley.

The Cotes du Rhône AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) is the second-largest appellation in France, with Bordeaux being the largest. It is also one of the oldest.

Cotes du Rhône wines range from the pleasant, immediately drinkable to the more pricey and collectible ones.

Most of the wines don’t require aging, but some of them age beautifully with time.

The wines are incredibly varied in personality, mimicking the diversity of the terroir and soil.

Unlike Bordeaux wines, which are heavily oaked, have bigger tannins and consist of flavours ranging from dark plum to blackcurrant and tobacco, Rhone style wines are made using less new oak.

Of the wines made in Cotes du Rhône, 89% are red, 7% are rosé wines, and 4% are white.

Among the finest Cotes du Rhône wines AE Club offers are those from Maison M. Chapoutier, which is well-known for its wines from both the north and south, particularly for its red and white Hermitage wines.

M. Chapoutier wines range from the affordable Crozes Hermitage “Les Meysonniers” (Organic Selection) Blanc at RM181 and the Hermitage “La Sizeranne”at RM485 to the higher-priced Hermitage Le Meal Rouge at RM1,425 and Hermitage L’Ermite Rouge at RM2,625 to the even pricier Hermitage L’Ermite Blanc at RM4,000.

  1. M. Chapoutier Crozes Hermitage “Les Meysonniers” (Organic Selection) Blanc RM181
  2. M. Chapoutier Hermitage “La Sizeranne” RM485
  3. M. Chapoutier Hermitage L’Ermite Blanc RM4,000
  4. M. Chapoutier Hermitage L’Ermite Rouge RM2,625
  5. M. Chapoutier Hermitage Le Meal Rouge RM1,425

Other Cotes du Rhône wines with friendly price tags available at AE Club include Domaine Rostaing, Domaine Giraud and Chateau La Nerthe.

  1. Domaine Rostaing Puech Noble Blanc RM160
  2. Domaine Rostaing Puech Noble Rouge RM160
  3. Domaine Rostaing Cote Rotie Ampodium RM336
  4. Domaine Giraud Chateauneuf du Pape Tradition RM260
  5. Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc RM300
  6. Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge RM300

Besides Rhône Valley wines, AE Club also has a large selection of fine wines, including rose wines, from other French regions. The price range is from RM100+ for wines from Alsace, Languedoc-Roussillion and Loire Valley to Burgundy’s Domaine d’Eugenie at RM1,800.

  1. Alsace’s W. Gisselbrecht Pinot Noir RM113
  2. Alsace’s W. Gisselbrecht Pinot Gris RM119
  3. Alsace’s W. Gisselbrecht Creamnd d’Alsace Rose RM210
  4. Languedoc-Roussillion’s Domaine Haut Gleon Domaine Haut Gleon Vallee Paradis Rose RM113
  5. Languedoc-Roussillion’s Foncalieu Le Lien Rouge – Minervois RM169
  6. Loire Valley’s Chevalier de France Chevalier Chardonnay Brut RM198
  7. Loire Valley’s Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Blanc RM200
  8. Burgundy’s Domaine d’Eugenie Clos Vougeot RM1,800
  9. Burgundy’s Domaine d’Eugenie Echezeaux Grand Cru RM1,800

For Rhone Valley and other French wines, shop at

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