- Transfer: Lyon Airport to Valence Hotel
- Tour: Condrieu, Côte-Rôtie and Saint Joseph
Welcome to France! On arrival in Lyon, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your accommodation in the Rhone Valley to check in. En route, enjoy a day of touring in the Northern Rhone.
Northern Rhone Valley
The Rhône Valley is one of the most historic and bountiful wine regions in France. Boasting wine making history dating back over 2600 years, it is the origin of two of the most important varietals in the industry, Syrah and Grenache. The valley runs along the Rhône River from Lyon all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, providing an extraordinary climate and soil for vines to grow. With the arrival of the Popes in Avignon in the 14th century there was a surge in regional winemaking and a reputation that followed. The various AOC wines of the Rhône Valley region are produced by over 6,000 wine growing properties including 1,837 private wineries and 103 cooperatives.
The continental climate and the steep, granitic and schistose slopes of the Northern Rhône shape the Syrah-dominant reds of the prestigious Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie appellations. Syrah is believed to have originated in or close to the Northern Rhône region and produces big, bold and spicy wines. And while red production rules here, the white wines of the region deserve mention too, most notably the Condrieu appellation which offers beautiful wines based on the floral and exotic Viognier grape.
Condrieu, Côte-Rôtie and Saint Joseph
En route to your accommodation, explore the northernmost appellations of the Rhône valley - Côte Rôtie, Condrieu and Saint Joseph.
You'll begin in the village of Ampuis, home to the elegant Côte Rôtie AOC, known as some of the world's most prestigious Syrah-based wines. Côte Rôtie is also known for its small-scale, family-owned wineries and traditional winemaking techniques. The name "Côte Rôtie" translates to "roasted slope" in French, which refers to the steep terraced vineyards that are situated on south-facing slopes overlooking the Rhône River. You’ll climb steeply up through the terraced vineyard hillside of the Cote Blonde and the Cote Brune, before being welcomed for a tour and tasting at a winery such as Domaine Jamet, Domaine Bernard Levet or Domain Jasmin.
Enjoy lunch in a local gourmet restaurant suggested by your guide and offering regional flavors (to be paid directly).
We continue this afternoon towards Condrieu, a village which lends its name to the famous white Rhône wine. Learn about its grape, the Viognier, which is known for its floral aromas and rich, full-bodied flavors. The grape is notoriously difficult to grow and harvest, and almost disappeared completely just a few years ago. Visit the scenic vineyards as your guide explains the local appellation and viticulture discovering characteristics of the Condrieu grape varieties, ageing potential of the wines and the varying influences of the terroir and cellar methods. Some of the wineries we will consider for our visit and tasting in Condrieu include Domaine E. Guigal, Château Grillet, Domaine Georges Vernay, and Domaine Pierre Dumazet.
You will end your day with a visit to an estate of the appellation Saint-Joseph, a little further south, where you will discover a wine a little more rustic which is characterized by it’s spicy aromas.
As your day of tastings comes to an end, your guide will deliver you to your hotel to check in.