The Rhône is one of France's great wine regions - or two of them to be exact. For in practice, the Northern Rhône and Southern Rhône are distinct regions that share little more than a name and a river.
The North, running from just south of Lyon to Valence produces a mere 5% of the wines of the combined region. Arguably the most prestigious and quite possibly the most expensive.
The city of Montélimar marks the gateway to the vast, geologically diverse Southern Rhône which covers a greater distance east to west than from north to south.
Where the Northern Rhône has a continental climate with cold winters and the strong, cold Mistral wind, the South is Mediterranean with milder winters, hotter summers and less rain.
The North is mostly Syrah, with some Viognier plus Marsanne and Roussanne, from a handful of appellations; the South permits 19 grape varieties in Châteauneuf-du-Pape alone and plenty more elsewhere.
If Rhône wines have a single, unifying feature it is substance; it is one of the warmer vineyard climates in France and produces dark-fruited, fleshy reds and rich, generous, hedonistic whites.
I have loved the wines of the Rhône for many years, sufficiently so to take several holidays there.
However, the true expert on the Rhône is Matt Walls who not only lives in the region but has also written a book, covering extensively appellations, producers, history and terroir.
Matt gives an introduction to the region and his book in this podcast, introduced by Joe Wadsack: Wine of the Times Podcast Series: Living the Wine Dream - Moving to the Rhône to write a book about wine – does it get much better? on Apple Podcasts
For a deeper dive, the book is available here: Wines of the Rhône | Infinite Ideas (infideas.com)