What is Côtes du Rhône? | Wine Enthusiast
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What is Côtes du Rhône?

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What’s in the bottle when you see “Côtes du Rhône” on the label? It is the real wine deal.

Sun-drenched Côtes du Rhône vineyards straddle the great Rhône river. In the North, it is bold red Syrah and aromatic white Viognier. In the South, it’s red and rosé blends of up to 21 varieties, led by Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah. Whites, led by Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier, are harder to find but worth it.

Here’s a little history. Côtes du Rhône is among the oldest vineyard regions on the planet. Greeks, Romans and Medieval Popes liked the native-grape rocky soil tastes. As the reputation of these great wines grew, a 1729 royal edict required each cask to be branded “C.D.R.” (Côtes du Rhône), marking the best from the rest.

Today, the men and women of the Côtes du Rhône, always experimenting with blends and vineyard techniques, are proud to nurture these ancient grapes into your glass. These dedicated artisans have stories to tell so check out the producers while you look for a wine.

Find the wine:

When in doubt, just ask for Côtes du Rhône. These fruity red wines are delicious and easy to drink on release and that’s what good wine is all about. At 86,000 acres, it is the second-largest wine region in France so there is exceptional variety. Within Côtes du Rhône appellation, we move up the hierarchy as quality and distinction improve. (See map here »)

  • The Côtes du Rhône appellation lets winemakers choose from 21 varieties (mostly red blends) for these easy-drinking and food-loving wines. Here is where more than 5,000 producers, cooperatives and négociants make great value wines. This appellation accounts for 67% of wines in the region.
  • Côtes du Rhône Villages includes 95 villages and are more complex wines. Vineyard yields are lower and alcohol is slightly higher. These are great for aging.
  • Côtes du Rhône (named) Villages classification is the category where 20 villages attach their names on the label. It’s a process that includes critical tastings and it applies to all wines in the village once producers make the grade. Again, moving up the quality pyramid, good for aging or buy an older vintage, it is worthwhile.
  • Côtes du Rhône Cru identifies the best vineyards, defined by their names. Wines are from individual terroirs in mountainous northern granite vineyards and hilly, rocky soils in the south. These are wines at the highest quality level.

Authenticity and diversity are the keys. People who like good wine know Côtes du Rhône is simply the best place to source true and original tastes that define quality wines.

Will Côtes du Rhône break the bank? Absolutely not! All the way from France and yet many Côtes du Rhône wines are $25 and under, some even $10.

Tip: It’s best to be the one who brings a Côtes du Rhône bottle to a picnic or party. It’s the kind of food-friendly wine that makes everyone take notice of your good taste.

For more detail, go to rhone-wines.com. For what to buy, head over to our Buying Guide here »