The Rhône: Tournon-sur-Rhône and Tain-l’Hermitage

Looking down the River Rhône from Tournon-sur-Rhône

In May of 2018, as the grit blasting and coating of Wanderlust’s bottom was ongoing, we headed out from Saint Jean de Losne. While she was in the paint shed and covered with plastic, there was no way for us to live on board. As long as we were off the boat we might as well head out on a road trip.

We were timing an intermediate return to Saint Jean to coincide with the completion of the grit blasting, the first step of the work. But the schedule slipped, as often happened. It would be a few more days before Wanderlust would be ready for our inspection.

An old suspension bridge allows pedestrians and cyclists to cross the Rhône from Tain to Tournon.

Pampero, a vinyl chloride carrying barge, travels back and forth on this section of the river.

At the time we learned of the delay we were in the commune of Tournon-sur-Rhône. The hotel in Tournon is nice and the commune’s restaurants are good: There would be no real hardship if we extended our stay for a few days.

Tournon-sur-Rhône sits directly across the Rhône River from commune of Tain-l’Hermitage, the de facto capitol of the Northern Rhône wine appellation. For us the areas wineries are enough qualify the port in Tournon as a destination mooring. Yet on our trip down the Rhône in 2017 we were forced to pass by. The mooring was silted in after floods and was out of commission. Fortunately there was good news we visited again in 2018 by car. Work was underway to clear the silt and install new pontoons. Indeed we understand from friends that the port was serviceable by the end of the season. It’s great news as in our opinion Tournon/Tain is a destination mooring for those cruising the Rhône. Next time we travel the river we will try to stay there a few days.

The bridge and the river are in the foreground and the famous Hermitage vineyards are in the distance.

Vintage 2018

The primary attraction of Tournon and Tain for us is the wine. Tain-l’Hermitage sits at the base of the famous Hermitage vineyards, one of the most prized wine growing areas in France. Wine from selected plots on the hill above Tain can go for well over $600 US a bottle. Fortunately there are excellent cheaper options available.

Or at least theoretically available: We’ve been told at one cave that there had been a wave of American visitors in 2018. Mostly, we are told, the visitors are from California. It appears that Californians have a hankering for the 2015 Rhône vintage as many of the 2015’s were sold out. It seemed our fellow Californians had descended like locusts and cleaned out all of the best wines. We’re upset that they beat us to it.

The vineyards on the Tournon side of the river are in the Saint-Joseph appellation.

Washing Pampero’s deck

2 thoughts on “The Rhône: Tournon-sur-Rhône and Tain-l’Hermitage

  1. Pingback: The Rhône: Tain-l’Hermitage, Valrhona’s Cité du Chocolat | Wanderlust

  2. Pingback: The Rhône: Tain-l’Hermitage, Valrhona’s Cité du Chocolat – crazyhippo

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