If you like the Syrah, welcome to it's birthplace, the Northern Rhone region of France.
There are 5 main areas that produce Syrah each with it's own characteristics defining them.
- Cote Rote - Northern most region. Produces only red wines. Growers can ferment the Syrah with Viognier. Soil consists of shist, limestone which produce elegant and soft wines. In the northern part of the appellation the soil is clay. It is these terriors that contribute to the wine that is produced.
- Hermitage - This regions produces both red and white wines. Here the Syrah can be blended with up to 15% Marsanne or Roussanne. For the white wines, Marsanne is usually the primary grape. The soil is very complex.
- Cornas - 100% Syrah produced here with no blending of the grapes. The soil structure is granite.
The above three appellations produce the Syrah used in Rhone AOC wines
- Crozes Hermitage - completely different from the Hermitage region. It's location is flat. Here it is more about the fruit than the soil. They produce Syrah wines with good acidity and are easy going wines.
- Saint Joseph - This is a name not associated with a village or city. The soil here is granite and the vineyards receive the morning sun, but it seems to disappear in the afternoon. The wines from here tend to have tight tannins but is a fresh wines.
Condrieu is the main appellation in the Rhone that produces Viognier.
For more detailed information please view the video below produced by the Guild of Sommeliers.
Northern Rhône from guildsomm on Vimeo.