Some of the world’s most famous wines and food, paired with France’s most beautiful countryside and rich architectural heritage makes the Rhône Valley an enticing area for one of our most popular wine tours. With 27 unique grape varieties and more than 5,000 diff erent producers, every guest is sure to fi nd something to their taste. The slower pace of a walking tour allows you to enjoy the fi elds of lavender and olive trees between vineyards, learn and enthuse with the wine-makers and enjoy leisurely meals chatting over each day’s discoveries. Enjoy the autumn sunshine as we indulge in spectacular landscapes, beautiful vineyards, and – of course – delicious food and wine.
While most well-known for its wine, this area is rich in architectural diversity from as early as the 1st century BC. This tour visits Sablet, an authentic Provençal round village with its picturesque lanes, fountains and houses huddled around the bell tower of the 12th century St. Nazaire church.
This area is home to the country’s gastronomic capital, Lyon, but the region has a vast array of culinary delights to off er, from innovative and creative Michelin dishes to hearty traditional meals. Sausages and preserved meats are a delicacy in the area, and a speciality is the Rosette sausage, a firm favourite among the French.
Wine was fi rst established in the Rhône Valley by the Greeks over 2,000 years ago, which has now flourished into 33 million cases per year. Taste and enjoy red and white wines from a wide variety of grapes from some of the world’s most famous vineyards including Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie, Beaumesde- Venise to name but a few.
We start our journey today by flying to Marseille, Provence. Upon arrival we will head north to the Chateauneufdu- Pape region and to our hotel, Hotel Arene. Tonight we will come together for a welcome dinner, where we can toast the beginning of this wonderful tour.
Venturing into the heart of Chateauneuf-du-Pape this morning, our first visit is to the family-run Domaine Font de Michelle, where we experience a tour and tasting. Following this, we walk into the village where there is free time over lunch. This afternoon, we visit Château de la Gardine for an afternoon tasting before an independent dinner and evening spent at your leisure.
After breakfast today, we venture to a Côte du Rhône domaine for a visit and tasting before a picnic lunch with further local wines. After lunch, we will walk to our second hotel, Domaine de Cabasse, for a small tour and tasting before dinner. The hotel is located in Sablet within the foothill of the two most iconic geographical features of the area – the Dentelles de Montmirails and the Mont Ventoux.
Stretching our legs first thing this morning, we begin our day with a walk between the famous Côtes du Rhône villages just under the Dentelles de Montmirail and Mont Ventoux. Our included lunch today gives us an introduction to the wines of the Vacqueyras appellation. We continue our walk this afternoon and head into the Beaumes de Venise appellation for another tasting. After returning to the hotel, the evening will be spent at our leisure.
After checking out of the hotel, our day begins by driving to the northern Rhône and visiting Jean-Luc Colombo’s, based in Cornas. Once viewed with suspicion for his beliefs in the traditional vinification methods of the Rhône, his resultant successful wines over the past two decades have landed him high-profile acceptance. After a visit and tasting, we move on to Tain l’Hermitage for some free time over lunch, and later we visit a prestigious chocolate producer. Dinner is included this evening.
This morning begins with a drive to the start of our walk, near Condrieu, where we will explore the famous slopes of the appellation. After a visit to a local producer for a guided tour and tasting, we continue into the town for a traditional auberge lunch. Walking to our next destination, we will taste a variety of wines produced across many of the Rhône appellations before returning to Tain l’Hermitage in the late afternoon and enjoy dinner.
This morning, we depart from the hotel and make our way back to the UK.
Matthew Boucher has worked in the wine trade for more than 20 years, and arranges tastings for groups and companies. He is an Associate Tutor with Cambridge Wine School and holds the WSET Diploma in Wine & Spirits. Matthew is a fluent French and German speaker.