There are eight Crus in Northern Rhone starting with the Cote-Rotie AOC. It is considered the North's most elegant and approachable wine. The vineyards are located on steep granite terraces which are difficult to work which contributes to the price of the wine. They produce only red wine but can legally add up to 20% Viognier if they choose though that is unusual today.
2008 Saint Cosme Cote-Rotie $60
Clear, deep ruby in the glass with medium intense developing aromas of bacon, pepper, black fruit and tobacco. Dry, medium+ body, tannins, alcohol, acidity and length. Very good, drink now or hold.
Next is Condrieu AOC where they make small quantities of white wine from Viognier. Chateau Grillet AOC is a single property within Condrieu producing similar wines.
The Saint Joseph AOC primarily makes red wines but they make some white as well. It is a large appellation on the east bank of the river. Their red wine is considered the lightest and the fruitiest of the northern reds due to the higher sand mix in their granitic soil.
2007 Nicolas Perrin Saint-Joseph $35
Clear, deep garnet in the glass with medium intense developing aromas of smoked meat, menthol and black fruit. Dry, medium+ acidity and medium alcohol, body and tannins, medium length. Good, drink now.
2007 Domaine Mucyn Saint-Joseph $23
Clear, medium ruby in the glass with medium intense developing aromas of red fruit, smoke, baking spice with just a hint of savoriness. Dry, medium- body and tannins, medium alcohol and acidity with medium+ length. Very good, drink now.
Crozes-Hermitage has been said to be a hit or miss appellation due to the terroir diversity and its size. This was a hit.2009 La Matiniere Crozes-Hermitage Ferraton Pere & Fils Clear ,medium purple with medium intense youthful aromas of strawberry jam, cracked black pepper and a bit of smoke. Dry, Medium body, alcohol, medium+ tannins, acidity and finish. Good+ $20
Hermitage is the next small appellation. It mainly produces red wine that can have up to 15% Marsanne and Rousanne in the blend though it is uncommon.
2003 Hermitage E.Guigal $70
Clear, deep garnet going brickish at the rim. Medium+ intense, developing aromas of mixed baked berries with just a bit of pepper and forest floor. Dry, Medium body and alcohol, medium+ tannins, acidity and finish.
Very good/drink now.
Cornas is the last red wine cru in the north. Production is very small. It is considered the biggest, most masculine wine.
St. Peray is the final appellation. It is very small. It makes both still and sparkling white wine from Marsanne and Rousanne.
Notes from a Rhone Valley Tasting