Along the river, the northern vineyards of the Rhône region planted on the hillsides sit across the Loire and the Isère. A vertical landscape, from which the winegrowers extract the substantive pith of the syrah and viognier grape plants from the granite rock. Their labour bears fruit in the form of Condrieu, Côte-Rôtie, the unique Château Grillet, as well as Saint-Joseph wines. Wines from the hills of the Rhône and Vins de Pays.
Vineyard of Paul Jaboulet Aîné.
The Jaboulet House has a magical history that all started on the Hermitage Hill, in the Rhone Valley, where the Jaboulet family lived and was passionate about the every aspect of their vines. The exquisite pure red wine “La Chapelle” Hermitage is made from the greatest Syrah vines and is the flagship of the Jaboulet House. “La Chapelle” Hermitage is classified among the twelve greatest wines of the 20th century and its name comes from the famous little chapel, Saint-Christophe, which overlooks the magnificent vineyards of the Hermitage Hill.
Open to the public, Jaboulet put in the place the concept of “Vineum,” a unique address that includes a vault for tastings, a wine bar, and restaurant. At the foot of the Hermitage Hill lies this delicious and welcoming place that you do not want to miss! The chef of the restaurant, Jérôme Feix, proposes a new menu each month based on his current inspirations. This gastronomic menu is to be savored in the sun, enjoyed on the terrace lined with olive trees, and accompanied by the wines of Paul Jaboulet Aîné!
Saint-Désirat Cellar. Visualise, smell, understand.. the basement of the beautiful vaulted cellar is home to a very pertinent exhibition on the nine families of aromas present in wines. An olfactory initiation course. Tel.: 04 75 34 22 05
Domaine de Rochevine. Starting at the cellar, the discovery path invites you to a walk in the hills and vineyards. 2.5 kilometres punctuated by 10 educational boards on the vine « in situ ». Open to the public.
Alain Paret estate. Alain Paret’s Le Lys de Volan is fat, supple and round! A shiny wine, with a yellow straw colour, releases aromas of peach and apricot and goes brilliantly with asparagus. After which, you can let yourself be tempted by a Les Larmes du Père, another Saint-Joseph with subtle aromas of blackcurrant and raspberry that suits delicate meats. The Serina, from 90% serine and 10% viognier grapes, a wine from the hills of the Rhône, from a bend of the left bank of the River, is an expression of the land. Wines that are highly appreciated by the Japanese, for which Alain has specially created the 730 Nights blend. Fragrant, toasted, velvety, this Saint-Joseph in red, vintage 2009, obtained a mark of 91 in the Parker review. There is great consensus around this wine and the Americans like it too. www.maison-alain-paret.fr
Surrounded by the vines, made all out of stone, the small village with its château slips through the two rivers on a spur of rock.
Farjon Estate. In 1989, Thierry Farjon swapped his chef’s hat for his grandfather’s fallow land on which he plants vines. The winegrower’s apron suits him well and he likes to work on the grape produce. From 2500 square metres, he’ll grow the estate to cover 8 hectares in the area of Malleval and produces his first vintage in 1992. Thierry also grows vines on the Rhodanian hills to produce a Vin de Pays in viognier and syrah and complete his affordable range in the three colours. The Saint-Joseph in red, Ma Selection, is exceptional. Book for tastings, walks in the vineyards and meals served in the winery. Tel.: 04 74 87 16 84
Pierre Gaillard Estate. « Winegrower at Malleval and on other hills » ! Pierre’s other slopes are located in Faugères and in Banyuls-sur-Mer. Pierre Gaillard ploughed his first vine aged twelve with a horse. Since then, Condrieu, Saint-Joseph, Côte Rôtie and Vin de Vienne line up in the cellar. The path is set! Vine researcher and artisan winegrower, along with Favier, Cuilleron and Villard, Pierre makes up the winning team of the Northern Côtes du Rhône with unforgettable vintages. We can still taste the mouthfuls of Côte Rôtie Rose Pourpre, powerful and refined. We have a soft spot for the Octroi 2010, a new blend in condrieu, very mineral and straight in the spirit of organic wine. Not that there is a link but Pierre also sponsors the St Etienne ASSE football team, Les Verts and his wines have been selected by the Michelin starred chef Pierre Gagnaire in St Etienne. Tel.: 04 74 87 13 10
Jeanne Gaillard estate. Jeanne, a fully committed winegrower, is a member of the women’s association « Vignes Rhône ». With a 16 hectare vineyard, her collection of Vin de Pays from the Rhodanian hills in red and white is particularly alluring. We couldn’t name them all but note the Dernière Vigne blend, a 100% syrah that gives a powerful, tight wine that is crisp and fruity. Tel.: 06 79 77 81 64
The Pierre Gaillard and Jeanne Gaillard cellar is open for tastings and for the sale of wine, located in a place called « Chez Favier » in Malleval, everyone knows it! Tel.: 04 74 87 13 10
Valérie Sénéclauze welcomes her guests as a true lady of the manor, elegantly and without any fuss. This XVth century house with its chapel and tower overlooking the Rhône Valley has a few guest rooms and a guesthouse. Accommodation but also a table ! A vegetable garden, a mushroom farm, an orchard, donkeys, goats, chickens and rabbits, just like a tale from Prévert! Valérie botanises, cultivates aromatic herbs, picks pulmonaria and violet, milks her goats to make soap, picks the seeds from the acacia flowers to make syrup, bakes bread, and cooks to delight her city guests. Preserves and jams from fruit and flowers, spring nettle soup, dandelion flower tart and shitake mushroom vine leaves are all on the menu for a rural feast. Homemade fresh produce can be bought at the shop and courses are organised at château. Volan is the perfect base from which to discover the Regional Natural Park of the Pilat. Tel.: 04 74 87 11 79. www.chateaudevolan.fr
Château de Lupé. Just on the outskirts of the Malleval Gorge, at the foot of Mont Pilat, the medieval château has a wolf on its coat of arms. A Lord’s residence, it is thought to have hosted François Rabelais and Michel de Nostradamus. Having undergone refurbishment, the reception rooms at the château can now be hired for private functions. ww.chateaudelupe.com
Garayt estate. The château’s cellars were taken over by Annie and Bernard Garayt to produce and mature their wines. The setting is prestigious and their Condrieu, from 100% viognier grapes, is noble. The Pigeonnier de Vermont blend, pale coloured, offers a bouquet of violet and iris, finishing on melon and grapefruit. Tastings and sales at the cellar by appointment. Tel.: 04 77 38 18 04 / 06 18 42 23 64
Moulinages Barou. The factory has been producing silk thread since 1918. Bernard and Jean-Yves Barou keep up the regional tradition of silk-throwing. They create scarves, veils and muslins, as well as natural bamboo and cashmere thread that are on sale at the shop in the village. Tel.: 04 74 87 34 76. www.foulards-barou.fr
The village of Chavanay is located on the road to Compostella at the heart of the AOC Saint-Joseph and Condrieu.
Yves Cuilleron doesn’t need our endorsement but we’ll give it to him anyway !
Lyséras, Lombard, Saint-Pierre blends for the Saint-Joseph, Les Chaillets, La Petite Côte, Vertiges in Condrieu, Terres Sombres, Madinière in Côte Rôtie and then the Cornas, Saint Péray wines… We won’t list them all. In 1987, Yves Cuilleron started with three hectares of vines and now owns over fifty. In partnership with fellow winegrowers he opened a bistro and rehabilitates old vineyards in Seyssuel for the Vin de Vienne. We wait for more! When it comes to sustainable winegrowing, Yves refuses to do “mindless”. He doesn’t do “ready to wear” either. Each vintage is treated to a made to measure vinification. Aside from his AOCs, his collection of Vin de Pays from the Rhodanian hills in marsanne, viognier and syrah grapes is to die for. Highly exclusive, the Bourasseau blend in Condrieu, Saint-Joseph and Côte Rôtie, “High Fashion” wines dressed with labels signed by the artist Robert Bourasseau.www.cuilleron.com
Amphores estate. After the farm and the animals, in come the vines. Philippe and Véronique Grenier took over the family estate in 1994. The 8 hectares are organically grown and labelled Ecocert since 2002. They mainly produce Saint-Joseph and Condrieu wine. The Saint-Joseph, Les Mésanges, remains the estate’s best but it would be a pity not to taste their Vin de Pays from the Rhodanian hills. The Iris Blancs and the Détours are particularly interesting in terms of value for money. Tastings and sales at the cellar and at the Ferme du Pilat. Tel.: 04 74 87 65 32
Monteillet estate. At the time of Louis XIV, the estate belonged to the Maréchal de France de Villars. After the Revolution, it was acquired by Stéphane’s ancestors. Now in the tenth generation, the Montez estate is not new but Stéphane’s enthusiasm brings a breath of fresh air to it. The vineyard is 100% biodynamic. Stéphane has just added a new vat house in limestone to the XVIIth century cellars, topped with wood and plants, overlooking the hillsides planted with vines. The Condrieu Chanson, the Grands de Chaillées as well as Les Grands Places in Côte Rôtie stand out for their delicacy. www.montez.fr
Tourism Office for the Pilat Rhodanien. The Tourism office introduces visitors, in a fun and interactive space, to the different aspects and specificity of the Regional Natural Park of the Pilat. A must see before setting off on a walk. Leaflets and maps available for visitors. Moulin de Virieu. Tel.: 04 74 87 52 00 www.parc-naturel-pilat.fr
À l’Affiche. A small 80s themed, convivial restaurant located in an old weaving mill, right next to the cinema. The menu lets you choose between tartines, main courses, salads, cheese and vegetables. Simple, local fare. 11 rue des 3 Sapins. Tel.: 04 74 57 62 94
La Ferme du Pilat. Only regional farm produce that is sourced directly from the producers. Organic wines from independent producers are offered for tastings and sale. 8 rue du Pilat. Tel.: 04 74 87 68 14
Agricultural cooperative of the Balcons du Mont Pilat. Perfumed and citrusy, the Golden is enjoyed from November to June. Juicy and soft, the Gala is crunched from September to March. The Pilat apple is in AOC, it would be a shame not to taste it. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. “As long as you aim well”, Winston Churchill used to add jokingly! Tel.: 04 74 87 49 76.
Apple festival, 10-11 November
La Ferme de la Cabriole. This is where you will find the Rigotte de Condrieu AOC, a firm and smooth goat’s cheese that tastes of butter and hazelnuts to be savoured with a glass of Condrieu of course. La Chaize. Tel.: 04 74 87 63 30
The Old Charterhouse. Located at the heart of the Regional Natural Park of the Pilat and classified one of the most beautiful villages in France, Sainte-Croix-en-Jarez is surrounded by the remarkably well preserved buildings of the old XIIIth century charterhouse. The monks of the Saint Bruno community lived there in 1792. During the revolution, the assets were sold to peasants who moved in with their family. Tel.: 04 77 20 20 81 www.saintecroixxenjarez.com
Saint-Michel sur Rhône
François Villard estate.After some time spent behind a stove, François dedicated himself to the fruits of his passion: vines and wine. In 1989, no one would have imagined, that 20 years on, the restaurateur would become the “Prima” winegrower of the northern Côtes du Rhône. François masters the viognier perfectly. A variety that sings in his Quintessence blend, a Vin de France in white with fine notes of apricot and mirabelle. The Poncin blend, vintage 2009, a reference for Condrieu, is, according to the Gault & Millau guide, impudently long on the palate, who gave it a 18/20 mark.
A very old vineyard planted with golden viognier plants that are sought to have been brought back from Dalmatia by the Romans of Lugudum (Lyons). According to Curnonsky, prince of gourmets, the Château Grillet’s white wine is the “rarest and least known French white wine”. AOC in 1936, Château Grillet represents just one estate with three hectares and bottles that are practically “off market”. Château Grillet ranks among the five greatest French white wines with Château-Yquem, Montrachet, La Coulée de Serrant and Château-Châlon. A wine that announces 15 degrees, vivacious and violent, tasting of vine and almond flowers. The estate currently belongs to the businessman François Pinault and isn’t open to the public.
In terraces « chaillées », punctuated by the mark of the walls in dry stone, the Condrieu vineyard grows at above 250 metres on the granite soil and rough cliffs. Facing due south, the viognier grape variety thrives. The Condrieu, AOC in 1940, is pale gold that reveals itself ropy on the palate, with notes of apricot, white peach, bitter almonds and a lot of freshness. www.vin-condrieu.fr
A look of a gentle rockstar with his guitar, Yves, from the Alsace, met Mathilde, from Vienna, and they settled in Condrieu. A nice story to remember as Mathilde is no longer with us. What remains is the fruit of their work, which lives on through Yves. In 1980, Yves and Mathilde start with just a few plots of Condrieu. Whilst keeping to micro estates of 6 hectares in Côte Rôtie and 5 in Condrieu, they simply produce the very best. Both 2010 vintages, the Barbarine, where the syrah expresses itself with a touch of pepper and clove and the Sereine Noire where the Viognier becomes smoky, caramel and salted butter, are full of wonderful surprises. The labels for the wines are made by Pierre, Yves’ brother. A cheer for the artists! Visits and tastings. Tel.: 04 74 59 57 04.
La Bouteillerie. The Rhone Valley’s great wines are all present at Philippe Gérin’s. A knowledgeable cellar master and a beautiful cellar that still holds a few bottles of Château Grillet. 43 Route Nationale. Tel.: 04 74 59 84 96 www.labouteillerie.com
Le Bellevue. The Bellevue has seen and tasted everything. The gastronomic restaurant remains one of the most popular venues for winegrowers and their guests. Chef Jean Paret creates a marvellous spread with veal sweetbread, monkfish medallions and chicken supreme. Stanis Paret, the pastry chef, puts the finishing touches with nougat glacé, macaroons and chocolat cornets. You’ll need to take a walk in the vineyards afterwards. 1 quai du Rhône. Tel.: 04 74 56 41 42
It is the stronghold of the Côte Rôtie whose vineyards are spread across the villages of Ampuis, Saint-Cyr and Tupin-Semons. The Roman cheys (small walls) still support the sun drenched terraces. The Latin authors Pliny the Elder, Columella and the Greek Plutarch celebrated the wine of Vienne, the ancestor to the Côte Rôtie. Côte Rôtie syndicate. Tel.: 04 74 56 18 20
Gilles Barges estate. Winegrowers in Ampuis since 1860, the estate has seen Pierre, Jules, Gilles and his son Pierre, Alice and Julien have all succeeded each other. The estate’s reference wine, the Côte Rôtie Cote Brune, cultivated over 1 hectare but on a historic location is all powerful and elegant. The estate’s latest blend, the Côte Rôtie Lombard is cultivated on a volcanic rock, fallow since the First World War, producing a fine and subtle wine. Visits and themed discoveries at the estate as well as bed and breakfast. Bookings only. Tel : 04 74 56 13 90 www.domainebarge.com
Vidal Fleury estate. The estate dates from 1789. It is considered the oldest name in the Rhône Valley. Vidal Fleury had the privilege of a visit from President Thomas Jefferson in 1789. Its Côtes du Rhône wines, including the Côte Rôtie Côte Blonde, are emblematic, but the estate’s vineyards run across all the Rhône Valley appellations. www.vidal-fleury.com
Le Bistrot de Serine. Held by fellow winegrowers, the wine bistro and restaurant serves up a full menu that is very tasty yet affordable and was awarded a “Toque” in the Gault Millau guide. The wine list offers over 400 references of wines from the region, which merits our full admiration. 16 bd des Allées. Tel.: 04 74 48 65 10.
The wines of Vienne.In Roman times, Vienne is the capital of the Allobrogie and the black grape plane called « Vitis Allobrogia » produces three blends : the sotanum, the taburnum and the heluicum. According to Plutarch, it is a « un vin empoissé » that the Romans held in high esteem and gave special importance to. It is in the XVIIIth century that vines started to be planted on the rocks of the Côte Rôtie. The Seyssuel vineyard, which was hard to cultivate, was abandoned until 1996.
Friends and winegrowers, Cuilleron, Gaillard and Villard dedicated themselves to the revival of the antique vineyard. The 11 hectares planted in syrah and viognier produce four Vin de Pays from the Rhodanian hills, including a white Taburnum that Dionysos and Bacchus would have very much enjoyed. Cellar in Chavanay. Tel.: 04 74 85 04 52 www.vinsdevienne.com