Côtes du Rhône
PRESENTATION OF THE COTES DU RHONE
The Côtes du Rhône wine production extends along the Rhône Valley on 66,572 hectares and follows the river which originates in Switzerland and flows into the Rhône delta.
It was the Phocaeans who created these vineyards more than 2600 years ago. The Romans then developed them in the 2nd century B.C., but it is mainly under the impulse of the monks and nobles of the region that this wine area revealed its real potential.
It was in November 1937 that the AOC Côtes du Rhône made its appearance. This appellation of controlled origin is reserved for still (not sparkling) white, red and rosé wines.
The Rhone Valley is divided into two parts: the Northern Rhone Valley and the Southern Rhone Valley where most of the Côtes du Rhône are produced. The area of the appellation covers approximately 40,000 hectares in six departments (Rhône, Loire, Drôme, Ardèche, Vaucluse and Gard). In 2021, the total production of Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône villages wines (excluding Côtes du Rhône crus and other wines of the vineyard) is 1 558 433 hectoliters. Production is about 93% red Côtes du Rhône, 4% of rosé Côtes du Rhône and 3% of white Côtes du Rhône wines.
THE COTES DU RHONE : TERROIRS AND WINES
The Rhône Valley is a very diversified vineyard due to its relief, its soils and its climates which allows the production of wines with varied profiles and styles.
The northern part of the valley benefits from a moderate continental climate where summers are hot and sunny. Autumns are cooler and winters are harsher than in the southern part.
The southern part of the Côtes du Rhône has a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers. The winters are mild and the Mistral wind is an asset for the vines because it helps to prevent diseases. There are very steep hillsides in the north and clay, stony and granite soils which give the wines powerful and tannic aromas, finesse and intense colors. On the southern side, the soil is softer. There are small hills and vast flat areas. In the south of the Rhône Valley there are also clayey and stony soils but also sandy and calcareous. The sandy soils bring freshness and elegance and the limestone gives power and structure.
This diversity of soils allows the winegrowers of the Côtes du Rhône to produce wines of different styles with a majority of Grenache in the south and Syrah in the north. The red Côtes du Rhône are mostly fruity and generous (the structure varies according to the type of soil). The rosé wines are generally fruity or floral and the white Côtes du Rhône are rather floral and round in the mouth with sometimes exotic notes.