Club Write-ups

European Reserve
February 2024

Tim's Wine Market

This quarter. we are taking a deep dive into the Northern Rhone region of France and wines made from the Syrah grape. For a quick geography lesson, in viticulture terms the Rhone valley begins with the city of Vienne, roughly 15 miles south of the city of Lyon, and runs nearly 150 miles due south to Nimes, which lies north of the Mediterranean Sea. The first 40 miles of the region is called the Northern Rhone, then there is a fifty mile gap where only a couple of appellations exist. Then begins the Southern Rhone, which runs roughly 60 miles to Nimes. The north and the south regions have little in common except for the Rhone River; they have different climates and rely on different grapes. In the north, the vines cling to the steep hillsides that face the river or along the high rolling hills that define the end of the Central Massif. The climate is basically continental, meaning cold, wet winters and a short, hot summer. This is ideal for the Syrah grape, the variety producers rely on almost exclusively for red wines. In the Southern Rhone, the vineyards lie on soft rolling hills miles from the river, on deep beds of gravel, sand and clay that remain from the Alps and Central Massif weathering in the Ice Age. The climate is Mediterranean so they have mild winters and long, hot summers. This suites the Grenache grape well, but it needs help from a number of different varieties to craft truly interesting red wines.

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