Côtes du Rhône Appellation
Along the meanders of the Rhône and its gentle banks, the vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône appellation blossom in 171 communes with rich and varied terroirs.
History of the Côtes du Rhône appellation
Vine is cultivated in Rhône Valley for more than 2000 years, it is one of the oldest French vineyard. It found there good natural conditions, and its location on both sides of the Rhône river, which was a privileged axis of communication, guaranteed the fame of its products.
In the north, the first vineyards appeared thanks to the Romans whereas in the south they developped later with the Popes on the left bank and with the French Kingdom on the right bank.
The Controlled Appellation
The Côtes du Rhône Appellation is born in 1937. The vineyard recovers 56 000 hectares (the second of France in surface), concerning 163 villages and 6 “départements”. The minimum percentage of alcohol is 11%. Yields have to be lower than 50 hectoliters par hectare. 23 grape varieties are allowed, nevertheless the mainly cultivated are:
- for red wines: Syrah (only grape authorised in the northern part of Rhône Valley), Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Carignan.
- for white wines: Marsanne, Roussane, Viognier, Clairette, Bourboulenc, white Grenache.
The north of the Rhône Valley is mostly composed of granite and limestone (from Vienne to Valence). The south (from Livron to Avignon) is mainly composed of limestone, clay, sand and sandstone. Dry and hot, the climate gives stronger wines.
Côtes du Rhône Appellation, red, white and rosé wines
Côtes du Rhône wines have a range of 21 different grape varieties, offering a multitude of styles and characteristics. Even if the climate and soil are the main factors in their location, the selection by the winegrowers guarantees the finesse and richness of the blends. Côtes du Rhône are composed of 87% of red wines, and Grenache is often predominant, accompanied by Syrah and Mourvèdre. Cinsault is the main companion of the 7% of rosé wines produced. Finally, 80% of the white wine grape varieties are represented by Grenache blanc, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussanne, Bourboulenc and Viognier.