Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Is it political, geographical or otherwise that the Syrah grape is the dominant grape variety in the northern reaches of the Rhône Valley, and falls to a lesser role in the southern region of the Rhône river?
—Ron, Wilmington, Del.
Uh, is this part of the SAT test? Just kidding. Anyway, I checked with Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth, who covers the Rhône, and here's his response:
"Geographical. It's too hot in most of the Southern Rhône for Syrah. It's generally said that just around the town of Orange is the northern limit for Mourvèdre to ripen, and the southern limit for Syrah to maintain its freshness. Grenache is far better suited to the Southern Rhône's hot, Mediterranean climate."
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