Photo from the Cornas vineyards of Jean-Luc Colombo overlooking the Rhône river
The Rhône is separated into two parts, the Northern Rhône and the Southern Rhône. The two are vastly different. The Northern Rhône is steep and cool while the Southern Rhône is flat and hot.
Northern Rhône stretches from Vienne to Valence and contains the regions of Côte-Rotie, Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Cornas, Condrieu, Château Grillet, St.-Joseph & St.-Péray. The red wines are easy to remember – they are all made from Syrah. Whites are typically Viognier, although some Marsanne & Roussanne are used in certain regions.
Southern Rhône is about 60 miles south of the Northern Rhône and there are almost no vineyards in-between. The Southern Rhône area contains the appellations of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Tavel, Gigondas, Vacqueras, and the most productive, the Côtes-du-Rhône. While Syrah is the main, and only, player in the North, the South has a slew of red varieties to use. 23 grapes (white and red) in all. Grenache is the primary grape in the blends, followed by Mourvèdre, Syrah and Cinsault.