Drawing on over 30 years in the luxury tourism industry in France, Philip has a deep understanding of the world of the discerning international traveler. His experience as a tour guide, hotel barge captain and director and commercial hot air balloon pilot across France provides a background shared by few. Continually in search of unique visits and encounters, Philip spends his time scouring through the region for new experiences and the best-kept secrets to share with savvy travelers.
Philip navigated the Rhone River as captain of luxury hotel barges and designed the touring for some of the most famous vineyards on the Rhone valley, and as a touring medium, a hotel barge is an ideal way to discover this atypical region. The city of Lyon is also a perfect base where gourmet discoveries in the evenings along with tastings during the day in the Northern Rhone are an ideal combination.
The vineyards are split into two parts, North and South.
The Northern Rhone begins with the impossibly steep slopes of Côte Rotie, then Château Grillet (the smallest appellation with only one producer!) Condrieu, St Joseph, Hermitage and Crozes Hermitage and Cornas. Whilst the list might seem impressive the entire production of all of the Northern Rhone represents just 5% of the entire production of the North and South combined!
Another conundrum of the North is that only one red grape, Syrah, is permitted in the strict French AOC system and 3 white grapes, Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier, and yet the red production is 95% and the remaining 5% is white.
The Southern Rhone is a very different picture!
The King down South is undoubtably Chateauneuf du Pape, but the wines of Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Beaumes de Venises, Rasteau and Cairane which are all situated in the same area are becoming the rising stars, especially Gigondas whose silky, powerful Grenaches are becoming a regular feature at the top of international “Best Wine” awards.
The remaining village Appellations are Lirac and Tavel on the West side of the Rhone and then the vast majority is classed as Côte du Rhone and Côte du Rhone villages, Côtes du Ventoux, Cotes du Luberon and Côtes du Vivarais.
The Southern Rhone can also fall into the Provence region when it comes to touring, and you can see more on our Provence page.