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WSET Diploma Unit 3 - Rhone
Terms in this set (80)
Dark Ages - church maintained viticulture
Wine of the Popes - Clement V moved the Papacy from Rhone to Avignon 1309-1377; John XXII has summer residence at Cheateauneuf-du-Pape
Why was the Rhone disadvantaged in trade through the 15th and 16th Century?
The duchy of Burgundy completely disallowed trade of Rhone through Dijon, effectively squelching the trade with England and Paris.
2nd largest French AOC wine region (surface area and production)
80% red, 14% rose, 6% white
Northern Rhone - 5%
Southern Rhone - 95%
Whites - fat, full-bodied, low acid
North - narrow and steep, vines mostly planted on western slopes
South - Rhone Valley flattens, rolling hills with garrigue and large round pudding stones that store heat and reflect it back at night
What is the climate of Northern Rhone?
Cooler climate forces choice of early ripening variety like Syrah
Sept and Oct rainiest months, but some in spring as well (can lead to fungal disease)
blows at high speed from north
Dries the vines; help is pest and fungal disease mgmt
Some protection against spring frost
At harvest, helps concentrate sugars (up to 1 degree of alcohol per day)
Can reduce acidity and lead to incomplete phenolic maturity
Can delay ripening
Dries out the soil in the vineyard
Hard to work in the vineyard
What are the four grapes of the northern Rhone?
Describe Marsanne and Roussanne
Marsanne: White - robust
Roussanne: Delicate and acidic
Northern Rhone viticulture
Erosion of the steep slopes from heavy rains, so top soil needs to be brought up from bottom of river bank (pulley system)
Vines trained on terraces and cliffs to max sun exposure
Staked for protection from wind and erosion
Cordon training for Syrah to resist drooping
Complex granite soils
Small vineyard plots
Which winery introduced "New-Oak" wines to Rhone with great, attention grabbing success?
What differentiate the Northern Rhone from the Southern?
Northern is more mountainous
Southern is Mediterranean climate
North only grows syrah for reds/south does grenache and syrah
Southern Rhone climate
Mediterranean, more like Provence - mild winters, hot summers, low rainfall, plenty of sunshine
Floods, drought, thunderstorms, hail
Mistral and South wind
Irrigation NOT permitted except in CdP
Wind breaks - Cypress, Poplar and Rush Mats
Viticulture in the southern Rhone?
Gobelet - max heat and protect from Mistral
Pudding stones store heat and radiate it back at night
Syrah is generally trained Single Wire Guyot
What are the grapes of the Southern Rhone?
Syrah (for Longevity)
How is new oak generally treated in the southern Rhone?
Wines here are made in a wide variety of ways but new oak use is still limited
Mostly traditional techniques - lengthy maceration, barrel maturation
Modernization with whites have brought fresher character (cool fermentation in SS)
Use of full or partial carbonic maceration in CdR (sometimes even in CdP)
New barriques in North (sometimes)
Southern Rhone - co-op dominated
Northern Rhone - more domaine bottling
How do the numerous small farmers of southern rhone generally make wine?
Cooperatives, very prominent in Southern unlike northern Rhone
Hieararchy of AOCs
Cotes du Rhone
Cotes du Rhone Villages
Commune Level - 17 Cru
(other Rhone Valley AOCs - not within CdR)
Cotes du Rhone
80% of production
89% dry reds
70% from 64 co-ops
(almost) anywhere in Rhone but in practice only in the south
Some carbonic maceration, even for whites
How does Cotes du Rhone Villages differentiate from Cote du Rhone AC?
It is a significant step up in Quality
Lower yields, Higher minimum also (12.5%)
95% dry reds
95 communes - 17 can append name (incl. Cairanne)
can blend across villages
What are the main Villages in Northern Rhone?
What are the main villages of the Southern Rhone?
Chateauneuf de Pape
Syrah plus max 20% Viognier, co-fermented, fix color
Steep narrow terraces - impossible for mechanization
Vines staked in tepee (Taile en Archet) to stabilize against Mistral
Cote Brune - northern; more clay in soil; more powerful wine
Cote Blonde - more limestone; more approachable, perfumed
What is Condrieu?
Best from low-yielding old vines
Steep vineyards; tiny production
Plenty of body and perfume
Best drunk young
What is Chateau-Grillet
One of the smallest appellations and single owner appellations in France (other than Romanee di Conti)
Single vineyard producing oak-aged Viognier
What is the specialty of Hermitage?
Syrah plus max 15% Marsanne/Roussanne
Left bank of Rhone
Huge steep south-facing hill
Granite soils with best lieux-dits in the west
Long lived red Syrah wines and primarilly Marsanne whites (also age-worthy)
Largest cru in the north
Highest production (nearly half of all N. Rhone wine)
High yielding flatter sites
Left bank of Rhone
White from Marsanne - drink young
some machine harvesting
some carbonic maceration
Most wine mid priced - large volume, less prestigious
What is the specialty of St-Joseph in the northern Rhone?
Terraced vineyards are best; large volume from flatter sites
Some granite on best sites; sand and gravel as well
Lighter high quality Syrah to be consumed young
also produce good viognier
Terraces on south-facing slopes
A challenger in the northern Rhone to the fame of the Hermitage appellation. The wines are equally long lived and of similar quality. Sun-baked sheltered location gives deep, full-bodied wines
Plenty of new oak
When did the Northern Rhone become globally recognized for top tier wine production, thus expanding and essentially industrializing production?
Expanded production in the flats, particularly around St-Joseph, and Crozes-Hermitage`
What is the general blending style of wines in the Southern Rhone?
Blending of varietals is almost 100%
Compare Syrah to Grenache in terms of the Southern Rhone
Grenache is the main red grape, which is lighter and fruiter than Syrah
Syrah gives wines more structure and staying power
What is GSM?
Grenache Syrah Mourvedre - Common southern Rhone blend
Often adding Cinsault or Carignan
What is a common type of producer in the southern Rhone that is relatively uncommon in the north?
Cooperatives, they thrive in the lush production areas of the south but are limited by the tiny, difficult vineyard area of the north
What are the two finest wineries for Cotes-du-Rhone?
Coudelet de Beaucastel
Domaine de Fonsalette
- Both are excellent producers also of Chateauneuf-du-Pape
How many villages are in the Cotes du Rhone Villages AC?
What is the finest Cotes du Rhone Village?
What is Jaboulet?
Paul Jaboulet Aine is an important Rhone merchant and producer who makes the famous Hermitage la Chapelle.
They own excellent vineyards in every northern rhone appellation except Cote Rotie
They also produce in the South especially fine examples from Chateauneuf du Pape
Their signs can be seen built into the hills of the Northern Rhone alongside Chapoutier
What is Chapoutier?
Producer who is based in Tain-Hermitage
200 year old producer
32 ha of Hermitage vineayard and over 160ha in Northern Rhone
Known for Grand Cuvees of more than one vintage from a single appellation
Biodynamic and low yield production
What is Guigal
Top northern Rhone producer and merchant based in Cote Rotie, most famous in the region
Robert Parker's faves- reason for surge in interest of the whole region
Describe the production of Guigal's "Cru" tier wines
100% oaked wines for at least 3.5 years. extreme density and character from single vineyard sites in Northern Rhone
Sites include: La Turque, Landone and La Mouline)
Who is cheifly responsible for the popularity of Cote Rotie?
Marcel Guigal! ... well, and Robert Parker for loving him
Why is Rote-Cotie so aptly named?
The turn in the river here and the Schist slope are directed south East and absolutely maximize the effect of sunlight and shelter it from cool winds
What is the largest appellation of Northern Rhone?
Crozes-Hermitage which produces 8 times that of Hermitage
What is a typical note of Crozes Hermitage wines?
What is the most important AC of the southern Rhone?
Chateaneuf du Pape - "The pope's new castle"
1st AOC in France
Vines pruned low (gobelet, with Syrah on wires or guyot)
13 permited varieties, but predominantely Grenache, with a few 100% Grenache CdP made
No machine harvesting; required triage
Traditional fermentation (warm), no destemming
Come carbonic maceration
Whites - Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Roussanne
40% growers, 30% negociant, 30% bulk sold to dealers
320 domaines; 7% co-ops
Galets - large puddng stones store and reflect heat
Permitted to use special bottles embossed with papal arms below the neck
Spicy Fruity reds
What was the result of the financial and trust devastation of Chateauneuf du Pape after the Phyloxera Epidemic of the late 19th century?
Baron Le Roy created the progenitor of the Appellation Controllee system which was a set of rules for production in the region and set a delimitation of the region, alcoholic minimum, etc (12.5% still the highest in france)
What is the primary grape of Chateauneuf du Pape and what grapes follow it?
What is the goal of balancing wine characteristics in Chateauneuf du Pape?
Balance Alcohol with intensity of Phenolics and Tannins
99% red; 1% rose
Mix 65% and max 85% Grenache; min 15% Syrah and Mourvedre
Best locations are limestone, clay and marl soils
Usually high alcohol
Some carbonic maceration
Rustic red and rosés with intensity stemming from required low yields
Min 50% Grenache; min 20% Syrah & Mourvedre
Whites - Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier; max 80% any one
Alluvial deposits and glacial terraces
How does Vacqueyras compare with Gigondas?
Tend to be even more rustic with plenty of power similar to Gigondas
Which village appellations in Southern Rhone have won their own distinct appellation?
West of the river
85% red, 9% white, 6% rose
Ferruginous red clay, limestone, galets, high sand content
West of the river
Only dry rose - full bodied, intense, savory with age
Saignee method is traditional
Cold maceration; 8-10 days fermentation; sometimes MLF
9 authorized grapes with Grenache plus (60% max)
Grapes ripen fully with higher acidity
Soil - sandstone, sand and shingle, red clay and quartzite shingle; contain limestone
Grenache min 50%
Alluvial at lower elevations; marls and conglomerates at higher elevations
2015 1st vintage eligible for status as cru
Vineyards 60% Grenache, 16% Syrah, 15% Carignan; 6% Mourvedre
5% whites - Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Roussanne, Marsanne, Bourboulenc, Viognier
94% red; 1% rose
What is the style of Cotes de Ventoux?
Cool breezes effect these wines made from Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault. (Red and Rosé)
This is where domaine des ages produces their omnipresent rosé
Takes its name from Mont Ventoux
Where is Cote du Luberon?
Bridges Provence and Rhone
Mostly medium-bodied rose and light-ish reds
What is Costeires de Nimes?
Southernmost Rhone appellation; formerly considered Languedoc
Large pebbled soils with south facing slopes
3/4's red wine
Grenache is most important
Dominated by small estate producers
Describe the viticultural advantages and disadvantages of Syrah
This is a disease resistant varietal which is quite productive. It is, however, sensitive to culoure.
It is a very dark and age-able varietal when produced with low yields.
Must be harvested fastidiously to maintain phenolics and acids
What are typical notes found in Syrah?
Burnt Rubber, spice, animal leather, raspberry,
What is the second most planted grape varietal in the world?
What is the cool northern wind of the Rhone?
What is the climate of the northern Rhone?
Mistral is cool but inhibits disease, hot, but not crazy summers with risk of frost in spring.
Rain in early spring and autumn with an occasional hail issue
How does Marsanne compare to Roussanne?
Roussanne: Poor resistance to disease and wind, adds fruit and acid to blends
Marsanne: similar but less aromatic
How are vines trained in Cote Rotie?
In teepee to combat mistral
What's the lightest bodied Northern Rhone Red?
Which northern rhone appellation cannot blend viognier into their Syrah?
What is the shrub of the southern rhone called?
What is a common theme with the topsoil of most of the southern rhone?
Large pudding stones all over, collecting heat
Why is the mistral particularly strong in the southern rhone?
No protection from slopes like in the north
What are essential in the southern rhone to protect from the mistral?
What is the flavor and style of Southern Rhone Grenache?
Low tannin and color - spiced red berries, baked and jammy with more heat exposure
What does Cinsault add to southern rhone blends?
Fruit and acid
What does Mourvedre add to southern rhone wines?
Color and tannin
What AC is 80% of southern rhone production?
Cotes du Rhone AC
What was the first appellation declared in France?
Chateauneuf du Pape
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