Côte du Rhône

The Côte du Rhône is in the southern Rhône valley which lies between the Alps to the east and the Massif Central mountains to the west, stretching from Vienna in the north to Avignon in the south, along the Rhône river. Due to the fact that it lies between two mountain ranges which create a wind tunnel of sorts, called the minstral ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mistral_(wind) ), which can blow hard enough to strip the vines of their shoots, leaves and fruit. Many of the best vineyard sited use cypress trees as wind breaks.

The appellation of Côte du Rhône is the second largest wine producing area in France after Bordeaux, producing around 87 million gallons of wine, of which 95 percent is red, with very little sparkling, rosé, dry white, and sweet white.

More than twenty varieties of grapes are allowed to be planted in southern Rhône. The signature red grape here is Grenache with Syrah, Mourvédre, and sometimes Cinsaut and Carignan as blending grapes. The most widely planted white grapes are Clairette and Grenache Blanc.

In the southern regions of the Côte du Rhône Grenache is dominant. Where as in northern regions of the Côte du Rhône Syrah tends to be the dominant grape.

The majority of the 171 villages entitled Côte du Rhône are in the southern region. Much of the wine is produced by négociants or cooperatives using carbonic maceration.

Ryan McWilliamsComment