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Luxury Wine Tour of the

Rhone Valley

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

May 28th – June 1st, 2018

Hosted by James Lawther, MW

$3,995 CAD per person

Just 6 spaces left!


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.

Included in the itinerary are:

  • A Syrah and Viognier extravaganza with private visits to E. Guigal, M.Chapoutier, Domaine Michel et Stéphane Ogier and Jean-Luc Colombo.
  • An insider's look at Châteauneuf-du-Pape with a tour, tasting and lunch at Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe and a visit to the icon Château de Beaucastel.
  • 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 Château de Saint-Cosme 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) and Christian Etienne (1-star) in Avignon as well as local fare, flavour and wines at Le Bistrot à Vins de Serine in Ampuis, La Beaugravière in Mondragon and Les Florets in Gigondas.

It's a 5-day wine and food lover's dream for $3,995 CAD including tax per person based on double occupancy.

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!

Price: $3,995 CAD (taxes included)

This price includes accommodation, local transport, all tastings, all meals except one free night, and all applicable taxes and gratuities. Flights and all your travel arrangements to Lyon and the onward travel from Avignon are not included.

There is a CAD $650 supplement if you are travelling by yourself. This cost is to cover the cost of single-room occupancy at each of our hotels.

The payment schedule is:

  • Deposit at booking: $1,000
  • 120 days from start: $2,000
  • 90 days from start: $995 (plus single supplement if applicable)


Day 1
Monday, May 28thCôte-Rôtie & Condrieu

9:45 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 Michel et Stéphane 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 Rhône. He will then join us for lunch at Le Bistrot à Vins de Serine in Ampuis.

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, May 29thHermitage & Cornas

9:15 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.

Tapas 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, there is a tasting of other Northern Rhône producers. Casual tapas will be served with the wines and the rest of the evening is free to relax or explore the town.

Day 3
Wednesday, May 30thIntroduction to the Southern Rhone

9:15 am Check-out and Depart Hotel

Université du Vin
From the granite scarps of the Northern Rhone we get our first taste of the Mediterranean-influenced Southern Rhone 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 Rhone – 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. Truffles are a speciality and the wine list one of the most extensive in the Rhône. Multiple vintages of Château Rayas figure so we will taste one alongside the appetizing local cuisine.

Domaine Richaud
Just down the road from Mondragon is the Southern Rhône's newest cru, AC 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 Rhone and tasting we'll have a free night to let you relax and/or explore Avignon.

Day 4
Thursday, May 31stChâteauneuf-du-Pape

9:30 am Depart Hotel

Château de Beaucastel
A great and singular Châteauneuf-du-Pape with its 100-hectare vineyard in one entity. All of the 13 permitted grape varieties are cultivated with a significant amount of Mourvèdre and the lesser known Counoise in the blend. Various generations of the Perrin family have kept it in tip-top shape and the wines, including the Roussanne-dominated white, are as great as ever. Expect another memorable visit and tasting.

Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe
The Bédarrides-based property has been one of the leading lights in Châteauneuf-du-Pape for a number of years. Henri Brunier put it on the map in the 1970s and 1980s and since 1988 it has been run by his sons, Daniel and Frédéric. We are privileged to be invited by Daniel to visit the new winery and then taste their range of wines, including Grenache-based Vieux Télégraphe and Les Pallières from Gigondas. Lunch with Daniel then follows at the estate, making this an exceptional visit.

Maison Christian Etienne
Our final gourmet dinner is at Michelin 1-star Maison Christian Etienne in the glorious setting of a historically listed building in Avignon. It's only a stone's throw from the hotel so we can walk to the restaurant where chef Guilhem Sevin offers a seasonal menu. Don't worry, the wines will do justice to the food.

Day 5
Friday, June 1stTavel & Gigondas

10:00 am Check-out and Depart Hotel

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.

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.

Château de Saint-Cosme
To have a more in-depth look at Gigondas and we couldn't have a better guide than Louis Barruol of Château de Saint-Cosme. The property has been owned by his family since 1570 and even houses some Gallo-Roman fermentation vats. History aside, Louis is also a tireless ambassador for the appellation and one of its more talented winemakers. We'll taste a range of his wines and learn about the different terroirs and why Grenache-based Gigondas differs from Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

6:30 pm – Tour ends

From Château de Saint-Cosme, we will take you to Avignon Gare TGV (6km from the city centre) by 6:30 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

Featured wine tasting holiday to Rhone-Valley, France:

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