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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.
In a nutshell
- Rhône Valley, France
- Seyssuell, forgotten classic
- Left bank of the river Rhone
- Schist and granite soils
- Viognier & syrah
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. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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.
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.
- Seyssuel & Its AOP Quest on Guildsomm
- Jefford on Monday: In search of a lost wine on Decanter
- Anson on Thursday: Syrah’s new frontier on Decanter
- Wines of the Northern Rhone by John Livingstone-Learmonth