In an effort to shed some light on how I study for WSET Diploma Course’s D3 exam, Le Club des Vins is running a series of posts covering wine regions. Today’s topic: Côte-Rôtie

📍 Location

Côte Rôtie is the most northern appellation in the Rhone region which lies not that far south from the Beaujolais region, France. The river Rhone runs through the valley and the vineyard sites are situated close to the river on steep slopes (gradient of 55% and more!) facing south and south-east. Cote-Rotie has in general a continental climate, but the variations in aspect give a lot of microclimates and variation from site to site.⠀⠀⠀

In a nutshell

  • France
  • Mistral
  • Stoney soils that contain a high % of granite and schist
  • Syrah

☁️ Winegrowing

An important feature in the northern Rhone is the cold ‘Mistral’ wind that blows from the Massif Central through the valley. The wind is so strong that vines must be supported by stakes, locally named echalas. An advantage is that the strong wind reduces fungal pressure, lowers vigour and reduces yields. This means more concentration in the grapes. Disadvantage is that it cools down the region significantly, so grapes may struggle to ripen. The slopes are steep and vineyards are planted on terraces, this means all the work has to be done by hand and erosion is a constant risk.⠀⠀

Source: Delongwines.com

🌋 Soils

The soils in the Cote-Rotie are stoney and contain a high % of granite and schist. This type of soils have good drainage and retain a lot of heat to help the grapes ripen. Literal translation of Côte Rôtie is ‘roasted slope’ 😏.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

🍇 Grapes & style

AOC Côte Rôtie = red wines only. Regulations state that up to 20% of Viognier is allowed in the blend to enhance the aromatic qualities of the wine. In reality this is hardly been done or only till a maximum of 8%. Wines are mostly destemmed and aged in large oak foudres, although recently there are also experiments with new French barriques. Côte Rôtie Syrah is known for its more fragrant and delicate wines. Personal favorite are the ‘cru’ bottlings of Rostaing, what’s yours?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

💡 Something you didn’t know

Due to lack of commercial interest in the early 1970’s vineyard appellations shrunk to about 70ha. It was due to the first single ‘cru’ vineyard bottlings of E.Guigal that the region became famous again. The wines from the ‘La Landonne’ and ‘La Mouline’ where sold for super premium prices and put the region back on the map. His ‘La-La wines’ are now one of the most sought-after wines in the world.

Your turn now 

I always put a new region on instagram first. If you have any additions or comments on a region, please do share. You can drop a comment on instagram or on the website – see below. Your help is much appreciated!


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