Collines Rhodaniennes

In an effort to shed some light on how I study for WSET Diploma Course’s D3 exam, Le Club des Vins is running a series of posts covering wine regions. Today’s topic: Collines Rhodaniennes.

Collines Rhodaniennes

In a nutshell

  • Rhône Valley, France
  • Seyssuell, forgotten classic
  • Left bank of the river Rhone
  • Schist and granite soils
  • Viognier & syrah

📍 Location

Collines Rhodaniennes is an IGP in the Rhône Valley, but mostly used in the northern part of the region. The most interesting vineyards are to be find on the Left Bank of the Rhône, opposite to the famous AOCs of Condrieu and Côte Rôtie. Within the Collines Rhodaniennes, there’s one commune that gets the most attention: Seyssuel near the city Vienne. It used to be a region of renown, but was neglected after phylloxera, wars, etc. Time to shine a light on this forgotten classic.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

☁️ Climate & soils

The vineyards are located on the steep slopes (30-40%) of the left bank of the river Rhône, facing south or southwest. The soils are based on granite and schist. Hmmm, where have I heard this before? Oh right, Côte Rôtie. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

🍇 Grapes

There are more than 20 grapes allowed for Collines Rhodaniennes. It’s an IGP after all, no strict rules 😉 However, four of them account for 95% of the plantings: syrah, viognier, marsanne and roussanne. Quelle surprise.

😋 Producers

Three producers are responsible for the revival of this forgotten classic: Yves Cuilleron, François Villard and Pierre Gaillard. They started replanting Seyssuel together and created a project called Vins de Vienne in 1996. Their viognier is the best viogniers I’ve ever had and costs about a third of a Condrieu. Nowadays, there are 13 wine makers active in the Seyssuel. Other great wine makers like Stephane Ogier and Michel Chapoutier jumped on the bandwagon as well. Please share your favourites in the comments :)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

💡 Something you didn’t know

Seyssuel is in the process of becoming an AOP, at least, that’s the goal. According to @guildsomm, chances are slim it will be named Seysuell, though, because there’s already AOC Seysell (Savoie) and it could be confusing. Really? French wine laws, confusing? If you’d like to know more, there’s a ton of info on Decanter and Guildsomm.

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