The Romans were the first put this region on the map for grape growing and wine making, but was not until the fourteenth century that the Rhône valley gained notoriety with its Vins des Papes – the Popes’ wines. With 76,000 hectares of vineyards, it is the second largest wine region of France after Bordeaux. The Rhône Valley is divided into two sub-regions: Northern Rhône and Southern Rhône. From Vienne in the north to Avignon in the south, there are more than 200 km of vineyards spread over steep slopes and hills.
The northern part of the Rhône valley, dominated by the steep slopes of granitic rock, is exposed to a continental climate with cold winters. Besides granitic soils, there are also shale, mica and limestone subsoil. In the Southern Rhône, a Mediterranean climate prevails with mild winters and hot, dry summers. The soils are sand and limestone in the hills while the plains are composed of pebbles and alluvial soil. The Northern Rhône appellations all produce wines made from Syrah, while the south favours blends.
The 2012 Crozes Hermitage Terre d'Éclat is more forward, rounded and supple than the 2013, with medium-bodied depth and richness, low acidity and a charming personality. It has lots of black raspberry, spiced meats and toast aromas and flavors, and will drink nicely for 5-7 years. The Wine Advocate, Jeb Dunnuck - 89-91 points