Like a freight train charging downhill, France's Southern Rhône Valley has formidable momentum these days. Thanks to a recent string of superb vintages, the region offers a winning combination of value and quality and is enjoying enviable popularity among consumers despite difficult economic times.
The 2007 vintage is split in the Rhône, with the south far outpacing the north. Yet the north should not be overlooked, as many late-release reds from 2006 have helped improve my overall assessment of the '06 Northern Rhônes. Since my last report on the region ("Racy Reds, Rich Whites," Nov. 30, 2008), I have reviewed 1,030 wines in total, more than two-thirds of them from the Southern Rhône.