The Rhône wine region in France straddles the Rhône River Valley, starting just south of Lyon and ending 125 miles later just south of Avignon near the Mediterranean. There are over 20 grape varietals used in the production of wines, with each appellation having rules permitting the use of only certain grapes. The major red varietal percentage-wise in the Rhône as a whole is Grenache followed by Syrah, Carignan, and Mourvèdre. The major white grape varietals of note are Clairette, followed by Grenache Blanc, Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier.
The major appellations (or AOC’s) in the Northern Rhône are: Condrieu, Cornas, Côte-Rôtie, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, and Saint-Joseph. The major red grape varietal in the Northern Rhone is Syrah.
The major appellations (or AOC’s) in the Southern Rhône are: Côtes du Rhône (the lowest classification and allowed for use in all 171 communes in the Northern and Southern Rhône), Côtes du Rhône Villages, Côtes du Rhône Villages (with the name of the particular village placed after), Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vacqueyras, Rasteau, and Gigondas. Most of the red wines in the south are dominated by the Grenache grape. The sweet wines called Beaumes de Venise or Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, and dry rosé wines of Tavel should also be noted.