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Walls: exploring the three Vs of the Southern Rhône

Largely unknown outside of the Rhône; Valréas, Visan and Vinsobres (and Saint-Maurice) are quality appellations hidden away in the northern reaches of the Southern Rhône. Matt Walls reports from the region and tastes 22 wines discovering edgy tannins and brisk acidity, but also elegance and drinkability.

Tucked up into the northern reaches of the Southern Rhône is a vast massif that’s home to the three Vs: Valréas, Visan and Vinsobres. (And we mustn’t forget little Saint-Maurice, alliteratively inconvenient though it is.)

These names remain largely unknown outside the region, but Rhône lovers should certainly make a visit – even if your pilgrimage takes you only as far as the local wine shop.

This mound of marl, let’s call it the Visan-Valréas hills, rises up on the north bank of the Aygues river. Its waters burst from the mountains that mark the natural eastern boundary of the Southern Rhône at the town of Nyons.

From here, the river meanders its way along the foot of the hill, past countless vineyards, before it eventually joins the Rhône itself near Orange.

These four appellations produce two stylistic pairs: Vinsobres and Saint-Maurice on the one hand, and Visan and Valréas on the other.

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for a selection of 22 Valréas, Visan, Vinsobres and Saint-Maurice wines

See Matt Walls’ selection of 22 Valréas, Visan, Vinsobres and Saint-Maurice wines:

Wines are listed in score order by colour

Related content:

Rhône producer to know: Domaine Chaume-Arnaud, Vinsobres

Southern Rhône white wines

Cornas 2018 in bottle: full overview

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