Provence & Rhone Wine Tours
Here at SmoothRed, we just can’t get enough of the Rhône Valley and Provence – and neither can the wine-lovers who visit these regions of southern France. For as long as we can remember these neighbouring regions have been some of our most popular destinations. And still we never tire of showing our guests the seemingly infinite delights of wine, gastronomy and scenery they have to offer.
To read more about Provence & Rhone Valley use the links below
More About Provence & Rhone Valley
One of the great rivers of Europe, follow the Rhône south from the captivating city of Lyon with its exquisite architecture, cuisine and culture and you will pass through the old Roman town of Vienne, the distinctly southern city of Valence and the nougat capital of Montelimar. Continue on, all the way down to the artistic haven of Avignon with its imposing ruins and rolling fields of luscious lavender. You can’t help but fall under the spell of le Sud.
The wines of this part of France have long been revered, from the Syrah-based reds of the Northern Rhône to some of the most famous wines in the world, for example the Southern Rhône’s inimitable Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Add to those the exquisite Provençal rosés, and visitors here will be spoiled for choice of the some of the finest tipples to be found anywhere.
Provence & Rhone Valley Activities
Two Cotes du Rhone
From its source in the Swiss canton of Vallais to its mouth in the Mediterranean, the Rhône Valley stretches over some 497 miles. And with it covering such a vast expanse, it helps to split it into two distinct regions: the North and the South.
Each boasts different climates, soils, terrains, grape varieties and even a different approach to making wine. These combine to produce wildly varying drinks and with such a wide array of distinctive wines, it can be difficult to know where to start. Thankfully, that’s where we come in.
The Northern Rhône covers the rough area that stretches from Vienne to Valence and the vineyards here typically contain vines planted on very steep slopes. Harvesting is therefore a tricky process and grapes are picked by hand and taken up the hillsides on trolleys. This makes production – and hence sale price – expensive. The Southern Rhône, meanwhile, spans from Montélimar to Avignon and contains some 123 communes, most of which are located on the eastern side of the Rhône.
Much more than great wine…
As well as wine tours – and tastings! – there are numerous activities and excursions that visitors can enjoy in this area of France. Given the proximity of the Alps, the more adventurous visitors could indulge in a spot of glacier trekking, while those seeking something a little less strenuous could opt instead to visit the thermal spas of Aix-les-Bains.
Further south and the Provençal coast is dotted with many beautiful towns and villages such as Gordes, with its cobbled streets and 16th century château, or the clifftop village of Roussillon, built on one of the world’s largest ochre deposits.
Avignon, with its striking Palais de Papes, is also well worth a visit. Not to mention Aix-en-Provence, where you can visit the old studio of artist Paul Cézanne before relaxing in the shade by one of the city’s many impressive fountains.
Provence & Rhone Valley Wine Guide
The wines of the Cotes du Rhone
The best-known wines of the Rhône Valley are mainly reds and split into four groups: the regional appellation Côtes du Rhône, the Côtes du Rhône villages, 13 Crus, and finally the young Rhône Valley appellations. However of the 21 grape varieties allowed in Côtes du Rhônes wines, eight are in fact white, including Roussanne, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc.
The Côtes du Rhône wines from the north of the river are generally made with Syrah grapes (or Viognier for the whites). To the south meanwhile, greater variety in climate and geology means greater diversity in grapes, with up to 13 different varieties sometimes used in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, including Grenache Noir, Muscardin, Terret Noir and Cinsaut in the reds, and Clairette Blanc, Grenache Blanc and Picardan in the whites and rosés.
A day, month or year in Provence
A little further south and you’ll find yourself in Provence. Here rosés are the main wine produced, and act as the perfect accompaniment for the fresh, sun-kissed flavours of Provençal cooking. The garrigue landscape that includes rosemary, thyme and lavender adds real zest and animation to the wines from the region, giving the rosés a wide appeal.
Provence & Rhone Valley Gourmet Guide
Cuisines of Provence
Great wine and beautiful scenery are a fine combination, but visitors to Provence and the Rhône Valley will have the added bonus of some of the tastiest cuisine in France. A trip to this region is simply not complete without sampling the signature dish of Marseille, bouillabaisse. This famed broth, which combines numerous (a minimum of three but often many more) different types of fish and shellfish with onions, tomatoes, garlic, saffron and a blend of herbs is quite simply divine.
Meat lovers will also have plenty to go at, with the traditional beef stew of daube being high on the list of must-try dishes for many a visitor. The Nice (and nice!) derivative of raviolis à la daube is also well worth tucking into: ravioli filled with daube sauce.
Of course, for every great dish in this region, there is a great wine to match, and our wine tours of Provence and the Rhône Valley will certainly expose you to some of the best of both, so join us today for the wine trip of a lifetime.
“Sit back and relax, SmoothRed will take you on a faultless, varied, and interesting wine (and gastronomic!) tasting tour in your region of choice. 90 happy people have now been wowed by Bordeaux, Rioja, Tuscany, Languedoc, and Alsace courtesy of SmoothRed. You only live once, so stop sipping it at home and start enjoying it where it is lovingly created, courtesy of the experts at SmoothRed” Hoares Bank
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