This old wine-growing appellation located within the French wine region of Rhone Valley has a wide range of unique blends thanks to its many terroirs and grape varieties. It doesn’t matter if it’s wines for early drinking that are distinctive or wines that have a long-term investment opportunity. You’ll find some of the top ones in this collection.
What is the rich background of this wine region? Which are the finest wines that are produced in this region?
How do you purchase these wines for your wine collection?
We’ll show you all regarding the Rhone Valley wine region. Rhone Valley region of wine as well as its Cotes du Rhone appellation.
We’ll also give you the top wines that you can purchase through Cotes du Rhone and the most efficient method to buy these wines!
Northern Cotes du Rhone stretches from Vienne to Valence. It is characterized by cold winters, hot summers, and rain throughout the year.
The terrain is comprised of rocky hillsides, and they are terraced to allow for the cultivation of the grapevine. Grapes are picked by hand and transported on a trolley that runs down the hillside.
In this region, the full-bodied, graceful Syrah is the predominant red grape. Whites like Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier (a grape that is known for its difficulty to vinify) are permitted to be grown here.
Northern Rhone is home to eight cru vineyards. These include Cote-Rotie, Hermitage, and Saint-Joseph.
Southern Cotes du Rhone stretches Southern Cotes du Rhone stretches from Montelimar to Montelimar to Avignon. The climate is more Mediterranean and long, with cool summers and warm winters. The rainfall is lower than in the north.
The icy, fierce Mistral winds blow around 150 days of the year from the north, through the lower Rhone Valley to the Mediterranean Sea close to Provence. With an average of about 60mph and clearing the skies, it provides bright sunlight for the ripening grapes. Its dryness prevents the rot of grapes.
Southern wines are made primarily out of Grenache noir, but they are mixed with other varieties such as Syrah, Mourvedre, and Carignan.
The wines of south-western Rhone Valley can also be distinguished by the nuances of Garrigue, which is an herb with a resinous, wild form that grows within the valley.
Nine cru wineries are located within Southern Rhone, including Gigondas, Tavel, and the Chateauneuf du-Pape, a prestigious winery.
The remaining regions of wine production that aren’t in the Cru appellations – which includes both the northern and southern Rhone are part of the Cotes du Rhone appellation.
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All You Need To Be aware of Cotes du Rhone
The Cotes du Rhône AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) is the second-largest appellation in France (after Bordeaux) and one of the oldest.
The AOC extends across Vienne to the north, to Avignon towards the south, and extends from west of the Massif Central foothills in the west to west to Vaucluse as well as the Luberon Mountains in the eastern.
History of the Cotes du Rhone AOC
Since the 16th century, rules were formulated to regulate vinification on the river’s right side of Cote de Rhone. In 1737, a Royal Decree declared that all wine barrels produced in the region must bear the initials CDR in order to guarantee high quality.
The name was changed in the form of Cotes du Rhone when the bank on the left was incorporated in the appellation one hundred years later. Cotes du Rhone was officially declared an appellation in 1937. Cotes du Rhone was formally designated as an AOC appellation in 1937.
Grape Varieties Produced In The Cotes du Rhone Region
Only 21 grape varieties are allowed for cultivation in the Cotes du Rhône vineyards. The dominant red wine grape is Grenache, while others like Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan, and Cinsault are also grown here.
For whites, the most popular wine to be considered is Grenache Blanc, followed by Clairette, Bourboulenc, Roussanne, Marsanne, and Viognier.
Cotes du Rhone wine quality is broken down into four distinct levels.
Let’s take a review of them so you’ll be aware of exactly what you can expect to see when looking at CDR labels.
Cotes du Rhone AOC
Cotes du Rhone is generally called a generic appellation because it is the entry-level classification for wines that are classified as AOC wines. It makes up 50 percent of Rhone Valley’s production.
Most red blends are made from Grenache grapes or Syrah. Production rules aren’t as stringent as other levels. However, the wine must contain a minimum of 11% alcohol and must be crafted from 21 grapes that are sanctioned.
They are wines that are designed for drinking at ease and are paired with everyday meals.
Cotes du Rhone Villages AOC
The Cote du Rhone villages appellation includes a total of 3000 hectares of land that is cultivated comprised of 95 communes that are authorized in the department that have Ardeche, Drome, Gard, and Vaucluse. Its Cotes du Rhone Villages wines are more complex than standard Cotes du Rhone and are ideal for wines that age well.
Cotes du Rhone Wine-Making Processes
Most of the Cotes du Rhône wines are made using a semi-carbonic maceration, where grapes are fermented as a “whole bunch,” usually including their stems. The grapes are hand-picked to ensure that the fruit and stems are fully ripened.
Carbonic maceration is a method of extracting the color of the skin but does not remove the tannin. This process makes soft, fruity wines with candy-like flavor.
Sometimes, the stems are cut off in order to prevent the wine from becoming too tannic.
White wine is usually aged longer than red wine. For example, in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, white wines are aged for 3-6 months. However, the red wine is kept in barrels for a longer period of 10 to 18 months.
Character and Style of Cotes du Rhone Wines
Cotes du Rhone wines are typically designed to be consumed on release. They do not require aging. However, some do improve over time.
The wines are very diverse in their character, mirroring the variety of the soil and terroir.
Let’s look at a few of the most well-known wine styles from the various crus:
Cote Rotie is host to some of the steepest vineyards in France.
Red Cote Rotie wine is distinguished by its flavor profiles that include violets, truffles ras, berry, and chocolate. The Condrieu of this appellation has floral notes and a flavor of sweet honey and apricots.
Saint Joseph is the largest of the northern vineyards, producing the red Syrah grape and the white varietals Roussanne and Marsanne. The Syrah here features dark berries and some licorice, while the whites have subtle floral and fruity notes.
Tavel’s southern vineyards date back to the 5th Century BC. The Popes of the Middle Ages loved the refreshing rosé wines from this region so much that they decreed it shouldn’t produce anything else. To this day, Tavel is synonymous with rosé wines and has earned itself the title of “Le Roi des Rosés” (The King of Roses).
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the most famous AOC in Rhône Valley. Fourteen grape varietals, including Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre, and Syrah, are planted here.
The wines that result are aromatic with a spicy dark fruit that is balanced by acidity and minerality. White wines account for only 6 percent of the total production of this appellation.
Here’s a carefully selected selection of wines to buy in Cotes du Rhone.