Great Estates of the Northern and Southern Rhône Valley

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    This tour is provided by

    French Wine Explorers

    We sweat the small stuff when designing a tour. These include pairing accommodations with clients’ preferences, a guide that has a similar background or a quality to enhance the wine touring experience, estate visits that are varied and offer new insights, and an experience that exudes authenticity. Our mission is to provide you with the best value for your investment of time and resources.

    • 6 Nights
    • Private Tour(max 14 guests)
    • October 18-23, 2021

    The Rhône Valley offers wine lovers a unique experience that encapsulates beautiful scenery, delicious Provençal

    cuisine, and rich, expressive wines.

    Join us for a week of in-depth exploration of the Northern and Southern Rhône with extensive tastings at the best
    estates including Côte Rôtie, Hermitage, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and more. Learn about the region beyond

    its famous wines through visits to Roman ruins, gourmet local cuisine, and enchanting villages.
    Your time exploring the Rhône Valley will provide memories that will last a lifetime.

    Price Includes

    • A curated itinerary featuring the best hotel, estate, and touring elements available
    • The services of an English-speaking professional guide during your tour
    • Transportation throughout on a deluxe, air-conditioned minibus
    • 3 nights in Tain l’Hermitage at the Hotel Fac & Spera or Hotel de la Villeon in Tournon sur Rhône
    • 2 nights in a Deluxe Room at 5 Star luxury Hotel la Mirande in Avignon
    • Daily buffet breakfasts
    • 3 lunches with premium wine, mineral water, coffee or tea, including a Michelin 1* experience
    • 4 Dinners with premium wine, mineral water, coffee or tea, including a Michelin 3* experience
    • Tours and tastings at some of the finest estates of each region
    • Information on the region sent to you in advance of your tour
    • All taxes, baggage handling, and restaurant gratuities

    Wine Chateaux and Estates

    We include only top-quality wine chateaux and estates in our programs. Chateau visits are scheduled by special arrangement, and some chateaux or estates, including any mentioned in the Itinerary, may not be available on your dates. Once you book your program with us, we will contact the estates to determine which are available. If there are specific chateaux or estates you would like to visit, please let us know, and we will contact your preferences first when arranging visits and tastings for you.

    Itinerary

    Day 1Welcome To Tain L’hermitage

    Arrive on your own by 3pm to luxury boutique Hotel Fac & Spera, owned by the Chapoutier family and centrally located in the heart of the Northern Rhône. The hotel is located in the small village of Tain l’Hermitage, best known for their local wineries and world-renowned chocolates. After you’ve settled into your room, enjoy an orientation and wine tasting in the late afternoon. You’ll have an informative
    introduction to the wines of the Rhône Valley featuring a comparative tasting of 4 typical wines of the region, plus a short lesson on wine tasting techniques. This is the perfect way to start your discovery of the Rhône region, ideal for seasoned connoisseurs and novice tasters alike.

    Your welcome dinner follows in Tain l’Hermitage, accompanied by fine regional wines.

    Dinner included

    Day 2Condrieu, Côte Rôtie, Saint Joseph

    Today you’ll start your exploration of the Northern Rhône, a narrow band of vineyards adjoining the river south of Lyon. The best-known red wines here are Hermitage and Crozes Hermitage, largely made from the Syrah grape. Condrieu is known for producing the Viognier white wine grape. These grapes have recently become well known in the American scene, thanks to some fine winemakers in Virginia, but here you will have a chance to taste the original! Nearby appellations Saint-Joseph and Cornas produce fine red wines featuring Syrah grapes that are handpicked from the hilly granite slopes.

    You’ll begin your wine explorations today with a tasting at the famous négociant Guigal. Guigal produces wine from appellations across the Rhône region, but is noted for their Côte-Rôtie wines. Guigal played a pioneering role in improving Côte-Rôtie’s international reputation and a taste of their rich wines will help explain how. Your second tasting will be in the appellation of Condrieu or Saint-Joseph at estates such as
    Domaines François Villard or Yves Cuilleron. Next enjoy a one of a kind meal at Michelin 1 Star Restaurant, Le Beau Rivage. This restaurant offers classic and beautifully prepared dishes that highlight regional ingredients. You can try these local specialties while looking out onto the river for a quintessential Northern Rhône experience. Following lunch, return to Tain l’Hermitage for a tour and tasting at Valrhona Chocolate, considered the chocolate of choice for top pastry chefs, home cooks, bakers, and chocolate aficionados around the world. Evening is on your own to enjoy Tain l’Hermitage.

    Breakfast and Lunch included

    Day 3Hermitage, Crozes Hermitage, Cornas

    Today you will start your tastings in Tain l’Hermitage with a comparative tasting of Northern Rhône wines at Maison Michel Chapoutier. Michel Chapoutier gained fame and recognition as one of the first winemakers in Hermitage to make small production, single vineyard, small parcel wines like the wines of Burgundy.

    Next, visit a top producer in Crozes-Hermitage or Cornas, such as Domaine Combier or Domaine Clape. Crozes-Hermitages wines are grown north of Tain l’Hermitage on level ground. Red Crozes-Hermitage wines are elegant, balanced, and a pleasure to drink. Distinguished as a fine Syrah producing zone since the 18th century, Cornas, like Côte-Rotie, is comprised of vineyards covering steep and hard-to-work granite terraces. Following your tasting pause for lunch at a local restaurant such as Vineum des Domaines Paul Jaboulet Ainé. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon for some time to relax. Your final dinner in the Northern Rhône is in the town of Valence at the famed Michelin 3 Star Maison Pic. The Maison Pic provides a unique gastronomic experience featuring works of culinary art by one of France’s most prolific chefs, Chef Anne-Sophie Pic.

    Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included

    Day 4Southern Rhône: Côtes du Rhône Villages & Gigondas

    Continue your exploration of the Rhône as you travel to the Southern Rhône Valley. The soils here are less severe and rocky, allowing the production of a more expansive range of wines. The stars of the south are Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône, and Gigondas. Start with a visit at one of the most prestigious of the Côtes du Rhône villages, Cairanne, at a great producer such as Domaine Richaud or Domaine de
    L’Oratoire Saint-Martin. Then relax at a local restaurant for lunch featuring specialties of the region and a curated wine pairing that expresses the powerful terroir known to the region.

    In the afternoon you will move on to the cru villages of Gigondas or Vacqueyras, with tastings at top producers such as Domaine la Fourmone, Domaine Le Sang du Cailloux, or Château de Saint Cosme. Gigondas reds are well structured, full-bodied and rich. While a bit harsh in their youth, the best can be cellared for 10-15 years. The rosés are aromatic, deeply colored and full-bodied, meant to be drunk young. In Vacqueyras, the appellation produces 95% of its red wines using a minimum of 50% Grenache noir grapes. These wines are darkly colored and full-bodied with good aging potential. Following your day of discovery, check into the 5-star Hotel La Mirande in Avignon. The hotel is located right next to the Pope’s Palace, a central spot for your stay in Avignon. Tonight, we enjoy a seasonally crafted Chef’s table dinner at La Mirande.

    Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included

    Day 5Châteauneuf-du-Pape & Gordes

    Begin your discovery of Châteauneuf-du-Pape with a visit and tasting at a legendary estate such as Château de Beaucastel or Vieux Télégraphe.

    The vineyards of this appellation date back to the Pope’s reign in Avignon during the 14th century. The vineyard was greatly extended in the 18th century, when several noblemen established themselves in the area and built châteaux there. You will enjoy a private tasting at one of these estates, Château de la Nerthe.

    The afternoon allows for free time to visit a lovely Provençal town, such as Gordes. You will have time to relax on your own for lunch and to enjoy the beautiful vistas of this village, named one of the “Most Beautiful Villages of France”. Tonight, our final meal of the journey will be at the gourmet restaurant of La Mirande, a 1 Star Michelin restaurant, complete with fine wines to celebrate this iconic region.

    Breakfast and Dinner included

    Day 6Au Revoir!

    Your program ends after breakfast today. Check out and continue your journeys with memories of the Northern and Southern Rhône!

    Breakfast included

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