Wines from the Rhone have been long established, from the northern part with Cote Rotie, Condrieu and Hermitage, the leading names, but their small productions makes these wines hardly affordable. Crozes Hermitage provides better value but generally does not quite reach the excellence of its famous rivals. Syrah for the reds and Viognier for the whites are the leading grapes.
As to the Southern Rhone, we are familiar with the well-known Chateauneuf du Pape, which at its best takes some beating, but at times some unscrupulous wine maker will present us with some sub-standard wine not worthy of its name. Look out for its main rival Gigondas, a small village east of Orange capable of producing wine of outstanding quality.
There are also a multitude of lesser known names such as Vacqueyras, Rasteau, Sablet, Cairanne and Grignan-Les-Adhemar, all producing excellent value wines. Most of the wines made in the Southern Rhone are red made with Grenache and Syrah which are the main suppliers of grapes, and Mourvedre a distant third followed by lesser used and known grapes.