Rhône Valley, Yarra Valley

The Rhône Valley is in the South of France and is situated in the Rhône river valley. The region has been growing wines for centuries and is generally split into two sub-regions. In the Northern Rhône, Syrah is the predominant grape variety, though it is often blended with other white varieties like Marsanne, Rousanne and Viognier, or the red grape Mourvedre. In the Southern Rhône, a wide range of white, red and rosés are produced alongside the undisputed king of the Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

The Northern Rhône is cooler than the Southern Rhône and has a continental climate with warm summers and cold winter. The appellations from North to South are Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Château-Grillet, Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, Cornas and Saint-Péray.

In Southern Rhône, the climate is more Mediterranean, with mild winters and hot summers. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the most famous appellation but others include Côtes du Rhône, Gigondas and Lirac. Large pebbles are used in the region, placed at the base of the vines to absorb the suns heat during the day, to keep the vines warm at night.

Châteauneuf-du-Papes are blended from the 13 permitted grape varieties, though Grenache usually dominates, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre. These wines can be supremely rich and complex and typically warrant 5-10 years in the cellar for best results.
The Yarra Valley is a wine region known for producing outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The region has become a leading wine tourism destination, popular for weekend trips as it is located only an hour’s drive northeast of Melbourne. The cool climate region has some of the oldest soils in the world and produces terrific Chardonnays in the leaner, acid-driven style. Long gone are the days of excessively oaked and oily Chardonnays. Superb Pinot Noir is cultivated with tremendous results. Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and even Sparkling wines of premium quality are also worth seeking out.

Yarra Valley is the oldest wine region in Victoria with the first vines planted in 1838 at Yering Station. Reg Egan founded the iconic Wantirna Estate in 1963, followed by Dr Bailey Carrodus in 1969 who founded equally lauded Yarra Yering in the foot of the Warramate Hills. Nowadays a fleet of new world winemakers and growers are making sure Yarra Valley stays at the forefront of Victorian wine production.

The region in 2009 suffered in the Black Saturday fires, with an estimated 25% of all production was impacted.
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