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Jul 8, 2009 12:35 PM

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.

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  1. 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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Vlajos

      oops sorry, should have read your not a bit closer.

    2. The area around Grenoble, however, is near to Savoie, and that area is well known for a white wine called Vin Jaune, about which I know very little.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ChefJune

        Vin jaune is the flagship wine of the Jura, not Savoie.

        For a short overview of the wines of Savoie, see

        1. re: carswell

          Exactly what I wanted. Thanks! Now if my bursting brain can just remember some of it, as I try to do my last-minute French study.....

      2. 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.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bob96

          «Vin jaune is a speciality of Arbois»

          Actually, while it is one of the specialities of Arbois, it's also made in other Jura appellations. Some excellent vin jaune is made in L'Étoile, for example, and the Château Chalon appellation is exclusively vin jaune.