Carignan: Produces large crops of big, heady table and dessert wines. Ages well.
Cinsaut: Produces light wines and adds warmth and fullness in blends.
Grenache: The main grape in Southern Rhone. High alcohol, good fruit and hints of pepper. Used in red, rosé and dessert wine.
Syrah: Produces wines of enormous depth, fruitiness and longevity.
Viognier: Although this is a white variety, a little is blended in with Côte Rôtie to add fragrance.
Regions and Styles
Châteauneuf-du-Pape: Big, powerful, warm and fruity, this wine needs years to develop fiilly.
Comas: Big, powerful and jammy. Not as complex or refined as Hermitage. Needs ageing.
Coteaux du Tricastin: Soft, refreshing, peppery and fruity. Usually blended, and best drunk young, although the best wines age well.
Côte-Rôtie: Rich, ripe, complex, aromatic wines that will last decades.
Côtes du Lubéron: A new AC: light, fruity and perfumed. Drink young/youngish.
Côtes du Rhône: Deep coloured and fruity with a spicy nose. Full-bodied and best drunk young.
Côtes du Rhône Villages: More body and fruit than the above, this wine can age well.
Cotes du Ventoux: Like Cotes du Rhone but lighter, fruity and easy drinking. Drink young.
Crozes-Hermitage: Big, full and fruity. Age well. Lack the finesse of Hermitage.
Gigondas: Big, plummy fruity, flavour some wines. Hermitage: Rich, fruity and warming with hints of violets and great longevity.
Lirac: Good value, medium bodied and fruity. Will age well.
St Joseph: Firm, fruity and tannic. Need time to soften.
Tavel: One of France’s best rosé wines. Strong, full and fruity. Needs three or four years to be at its best.
Clairette: Light in fruit and flavour. Makes still and sparkling wines.
Grenache Blanc: Produces low acid, soft, fruity wines. Must be drunk young.
Marsanne: Produces big, rich, fat long lasting wines with complex flavours.
Muscat: Usually blended to add aroma and grapey flavour.
Roussanne: Produces fine, fragrant delicate wines.
Ugni Blanc: Produces light, crisp, refreshing wines which are best drunk young.
Viognier: Produces elegant, dry wines, with rich bouquets and lush flavours.
Regions and Styles
Châteauneuf-du-Pape: Powerful, rich, crisp, full bodied and dry. Drink young.
Clairette de Die: Dull still wines, but a good value méthode champenoise sparkling wine. Drink young.
Clairette de Die Tradition: Single fermentation sparkling wine which is peachy and delicious when very young.
Condrieu: Powerful floral bouquets. Dry, fat and fruity. Age well.
Coteaux du Tricastin: Dry, fresh and fruity. Must be drunk young.
Côtes du Lubéron: Fragrant, fruity wines, especially when a little Chardonnay has been added. Drink young.
Côtes du Rhône Blanc: Good, refreshing, fruity quaffing wines. Drink young.
Côtes du Rhône Villages: Better quality than the above, but still to be drink young.
Crozes-Hermitage: Dry, fresh and fruity with good acidity. Age well.
Hermitage: Dry, big, full, rich and fruity when young. Full bodied and powerful with complex bouquets and greatness when aged.
Lirac: Dry and fragrant but can lack zest.
St Joseph: Not common, dry, crisp and nutty. Drink young.
St.Pèray: Indifferent table wine and drinkable but unexciting sparkler.
Fortified wines: Muscat de Beaumes de Venise: Wonderful, fresh and honeyed, with a big rich bouquet.
Rasteau: Red, white and rosé. Big, sweet, strong and grapey.