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Lyon – Côte-Rôtie/Condrieu – Hermitage – Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Avignon

June 15th – 19th, 2020

Hosted by James Lawther, MW

Price is $3,795 US pp

From Lyon, the food capital of France, to the former papal residence of Avignon, gateway to Provence, a chance to taste some of the world’s finest Syrah from Côte-Rôtie, Cornas and Hermitage; marvel at the nearly lost cradle of Viognier at Condrieu and delight in the warm-hearted, multi-variety blends of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Follow the mighty Rhône River and meet and taste with some of the leading producers of the Northern and Southern Rhône as well as appeasing your gourmet palates along the way.

Each day includes visits and tastings at some of the most famous names in the Rhône Valley that have a long and notable history. We will have an insight into each property dealing with viticulture, winemaking and the untranslatable word "terroir."

Come and Discover

  • A Syrah and Viognier extravaganza with private visits to E. Guigal, M. Chapoutier, Domaine Stéphane Ogier and Jean-Luc Colombo.
  • An insider's look at Châteauneuf-du-Pape with a tour and tasting at the historic Château de Nalys and a visit to the icon Château la Nerthe.
  • An overview of the wines of the Southern Rhône with an introductory tasting at the Université du Vin in Suze-la-Rousse and visits to Celliers Amadieu in Gigondas, Domaine de la Mordorée in Tavel and Domaine Richaud in Cairanne.
  • Select accommodation at Relais & Châteaux 4-star La Pyramide in Vienne and 5-star Hotel d'Europe in Avignon.
  • Michelin-starred dining at La Pyramide (2-stars) as well as local fare, flavour and wines at De l’Or en Côte-Rôtie in Ampuis, La Beaugravière in Mondragon, Le Verger des Papes in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Hiély Lucullus in Avignon, and Les Florets in Gigondas.

Your Host

James Lawther MW

Your host is James Lawther MW, a prominent writer for Decanter, who lives in Bordeaux and is an expert on the Rhone. James is very easygoing and can explain all about the wines and the region. It's not easy to access this quality of producer and taste their wines with the owners and winemakers. We welcome all wine lovers at all levels of knowledge. Everyone is coming to learn and have fun – our groups are great!

Why Take a Tour of Rhone with Fine Vintage?

We have the experience and knowledge to offer a rich and rewarding insight into the Rhône wine region. Our long-established connections to the estates open doors that are often closed to visitors enabling visits to iconic estates. And we do it in style with luxury accommodation and French cuisine of the highest order.


US $3,795 (taxes included)

The price includes accommodation at two luxurious hotels, all meals except on Wednesday evening, superb wines at all meals, all châteaux visits and tastings, and local transport. Flights are not included.

There is a US$500 supplement for single travelers for a single occupancy hotel room.

The payment schedule is:

  • Deposit at booking: $1,000
  • 120 days from start: $2,000
  • 90 days from start: $795 (plus single supplement if applicable)

To Join the Tour:

Simply click on the Book Now icon at the top-right of this page and you will be prompted to enter your details. Should you have any questions please contact

The Itinerary

Day 1
Monday, June 15th – Côte-Rôtie & Condrieu

10:00 am Depart for Ampuis in the Northern Rhône

Meet with James Lawther at Hotel Le Royal Lyon and depart for Ampuis in the Northern Rhône. Place Bellecour is located in central Lyon and is the city’s largest square.

Meet at:
Hotel Le Royal Lyon
20 Place Bellecour, Lyon
Tel: +33 (0)4 78 37 57 31

Domaine Stephane Ogier
Stéphane Ogier is the driving force behind this dynamic, 7th generation family domaine. We will visit the new winery and taste some of his top-flight Condrieu and Côte Rôtie as well as the Syrah from the re-established Seyssuel vineyard on the other side of the Rhone. We will then head to nearby De l’Or en Côte-Rôtie Bistrot in Ampuis for a 3-course lunch paired with wines of the region.

E. Guigal
The house of Guigal needs little introduction – the largest producer of Condrieu and Côte-Rôtie, famous for the La La single vineyard wines (Mouline, Landonne and Turque) and a major player in both the Northern and Southern Rhône (Domaine de Nalys in Châteauneuf-du-Pape a recent acquisition). Get set for a major tasting and visit with Philippe Guigal.

La Pyramide
In the early evening, we will check into our Relais & Châteaux hotel in the town of Vienne, our home for the first 2 nights. La Pyramide is a temple of French gastronomy, the first establishment ever to obtain 3 Michelin stars under chef/owner Fernand Point in the 1930s. Alain Chapel, Paul Bocuse and the Troisgros brothers all trained here. We will celebrate the start of our tour with a gourmet dinner prepared by chef-owner Patrick Henriroux, holder of 2 Michelin stars since 1992.

Day 2
Tuesday, June 16thHermitage & Cornas

9:00 am Depart Hotel

M. Chapoutier
What a way to start the day. The Tain l’Hermitage-based producer is the largest landowner on the hill of Hermitage, with other vineyards in a number of Northern and Southern Rhône appellations. And they are all cultivated biodynamically. Chapoutier is a serious player where quality is of an essence. We’ll visit the famous hill and learn about the different sites and biodynamics before tasting a range of spectacular wines, including both red and the rare white Hermitage. We’ll then complete the visit with lunch at the estate.

Jean-Luc Colombo
Oenologist Jean-Luc Colombo was the new kid on the block when he arrived in Cornas in the 1980s. His views on winemaking at the time ruffled more than a few feathers. Now the domaine is one of the stars of the appellation with Jean-Luc’s daughter, Laure, heading up the winemaking. We’ll visit one of the vineyards in Cornas before tasting a range of wines with Laure, including Cornas and her present passion, white and sparkling St-Péray, to which she is contributing to the revival.

Light dinner at La Pyramide
After a great day in Tain l’Hermitage and Cornas we will return to La Pyramide in the early evening. Tonight, a light dinner will be served with wines and the rest of the evening is free to relax or explore the town.

Day 3
Wednesday, June 17thIntroduction to the Southern Rhone

8:45 am Check-out and Depart Hotel

Université du Vin
From the granite scarps of the Northern Rhône we get our first taste of the Mediterranean-influenced Southern Rhône at the Université du Vin in Suze-la-Rousse. The Université in housed in a medieval château and the knowledgeable professors will guide us through a tasting of a range of wines from the Southern Rhône – Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Tavel, etc. Now we are set for the rest of the week.

La Beaugravière
Chef/owner, Guy Jullien, has made our lunch stop La Beaugravière in Mondragon an obligatory watering hole for food and wine lovers in the Rhône. It is one of the best restaurants in the Southern Rhône with an extensive cellar of rare wines. Our delectable 3-course lunch will be paired with some of the best local wines.

Domaine Richaud
Just down the road from Mondragon is the Southern Rhône’s newest cru, AOC Cairanne. Previously a Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, full AC status was granted with the 2015 vintage. Marcel Richaud is one of the pioneers in the appellation, producing exuberant, Grenache-based, fruit-kissed wines that are a delight to drink. Marcel’s daughter, Claire, has inherited Marcel’s passion and will transmit some of this while we taste a range of these great value wines. The people, setting and wines will give you an authentic image of the Southern Rhône.

Hotel d'Europe
We check into what is historically one of the oldest hotels in France (1799), Hotel d’Europe in Avignon. The 5-star hotel is ideally located in the centre of the city just two steps from the Palais des Papes and offers all the amenities and service of a luxury modern hotel. After a day of travel to the southern Rhône and tasting we’ll have a free night to let you relax and/or explore Avignon.

Day 4
Thursday, June 18thChâteauneuf-du-Pape

9:30 am Depart Hotel

Château la Nerthe
Château la Nerthe is the oldest and one of the largest domaines in Châteauneuf. Its history can be traced back to 12th century with a reputation that has been recognized since the 16th. After phylloxera the then owner, Commandant Joseph Ducos, introduced the idea of planting multiple grape varieties which was later taken up by the authorities when the AC was created. In 1985 it was bought by the Richard family who have invested and upgraded the estate. It produces both red and white Châteauneuf.

Le Verger des Papes
Owned by Philippe and Jean-Pierre Estevenin, our 3-course lunch today will be served with one of the most beautiful panoramic views of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The bistro excels in local cuisine and the wines are selected from their large cave cellars that date to Roman times. Overall a great way to relax and savour the best of the region.

Château de Nalys
Château de Nalys is a crown jewel in the Southern Rhône portfolio of leading producer E. Guigal. Dating back to 1633, Nalys is one of the oldest estates in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Marcel & Philippe Guigal have helped bring the wines to the top of the class. All 13 permitted varieties are planted in Nalys vineyards, making the estate a leading example of the potential of Châteauneuf-du-Pape terroir.

Hiély Lucullus
After a brief rest back at the hotel, we will walk a few blocks for our final gourmet dinner. Restaurant Hiély Lucullus has been an Avignon institution since 1938 and over the past 80 years has been beacon of regional gastronomy. Our 4-course dinner will highlight the best of seasonal fare but don’t worry, the wines will do justice to the food.

Day 5
Friday, June 19thTavel & Gigondas

9:15 am Check-out and Depart Hotel

Celliers Amadieu
Founded by Pierre Amadieu in 1929, today the company is run by his grandson, also Pierre Amadieu. With 137 hectares they are the largest landholders in Gigondas and make excellent wines from throughout the Southern Rhone. The estate is very much a family affair, and our visit will be hosted by a member of the Amadieu family.

Les Florets
Our lunch stop takes us on a scenic, cross country route over the Rhône River and past Châteauneuf-du-Pape to the village of Gigondas. Perched in the foothills of the Dentelle de Montmirail, Les Florets offers Provencal charm and fare. We’ll enjoy the bucolic setting and local dishes accompanied by a selection of wines from Gigondas.

Domaine de la Mordorée
Tavel is considered a serious rosé, one that can hold its own with the local cuisine, and the Domaine de la Mordorée is one of the leading producers. Better still, owner Fabrice Delorme also makes top flight Châteauneuf-du-Pape and some delicious red and white Lirac. Sit back and enjoy a multi-coloured tasting where the skill of the vigneron really shows through.

6:00 pm – Tour ends

From Celliers Amadieu, we will take you to Avignon Gare TGV (6km from the city centre) by 6:00 pm for guests who wish to catch a TGV back to Paris. The bus will then make a final stop in Avignon city centre at the Hotel d’Europe for those staying on.

To Join the Tour: Simply click on the Book Now icon at the top-right of this page and you will be prompted to enter your details. Should you have any questions please contact

Price: $3,795 US including tax per person based on double occupancy.

There is a $500 US per person single supplement.

Space is limited to 20.

It will be a great trip with lots of fine wine, great food, amazing chateaux, a luxury hotel, a nice amount of wine education and many, many laughs.

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