Teach me about wines of the Rhone Alps
I'm traveling to Lyon and then on to the Oisons region of the Alps (just east of Grenoble.) Can I get a quick primer on the wines of that area ? I think I know that Rhone reds are often Syrah, and Rhone Whites might be Roussanne or Marsanne...and that's about the end of my knowledge....assuming that's even correct. Any help as to what some regional varieties and specialties might be would be appreciated.
Alpine wines are mostly crisp and white, from the Savoie, made from such grapes as roussette and jacquere. They should, as a keen CHer once said, taste like snow. Look for Savoie, Crepy, Abymes, Apremont, this last available in the US.There are reds, too, from mondeuse and even gamay, also light and fresh. Vin jaune is a speciality of Arbois, in the Jura farther north/west; the area around Grenoble has fresh local wines not heavily exported. It's also home to the Chartreuse liqueur, and the mountain monastery where it's made is a must side trip.
Northern Rhone is syrah (can blend with viognier). Hermitage and Cote Rotie being the best and most expensive. Cornas, St. Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage are other areas of the north.
Southern rhone is a blend typically with main grapes being grenache, syrah and mouvedre, though other grapes are allowed and used. Chateauneuf du Pape, gigondas, vacqueyras plus simple cotes du rhone are examples.
The rhone offers some of the best red wine values in the world.