France: Rhône Valley

Between Montélimar and Orange

The northern Côtes du Rhône Villages, Tricastin and Vivarais
By Liz Berry MW

This Guide was last updated on 26 January 2012
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Main wine styles


The Grenache-Syrah based Rhône wines are more concentrated and full-bodied and the best have hints of the garrigue and violets and red fruits, some showing spices and liquorice. In general, many of the Coteaux du Tricastin wines are rather lacklustre and dull but the best are fruity and vibrant, soft and juicy, for drinking relatively young. Côtes de Vivarais wines are generally spicy but with a certain freshness from their cooler climate. There are some attractive elegant wines here, generally for drinking young. The red Côtes du Rhône is also produced in a ‘Primeur’ style, for drinking in the six months following the vintage.


Dry, fresh, pleasant rosés that are appreciated best when young. Can by quite high in alcohol.


The few whites from the area are dry and may lack acidity, but the best should be full-bodied and fresh with lively aromatic characters, quite high in alcohol. There are some excellent Viognier whites, produced as Vin de Pays.

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