Vignobles de la vallée du Rhône

Eaux-de-vie des Côtes du Rhône (fine and marc)

An integral part of the production cycle of Côtes du Rhône and Cru wines, the eaux-de-vie (grape-based spirits) of Côtes du Rhône are recognized by two geographical indications. One recognizes the Marc des Côtes du Rhône, or Eau-de-vie de marc des Côtes du Rhône, which comes from the distillation of grape pomace. The other is the Fine des Côtes du Rhône, or Eau-de-vie de vin des Côtes du Rhône, produced directly from the distillation of wine. These two spirits can also bear on the label the name of a Cru appellation of Côtes du Rhône, if the pomace or the wine from which they are made comes exclusively from said appellation.

Appellations

Informations

Climate : Mediterranean under influence of the Mistral wind

Soils : pebbles with clayey, stony, loessic, sandy, granites and limestone.

Website appellation : https://www.cotesdurhone.com/

Key figures

Production surface area in 2023 : 29 005 HA

Total production in 2022 : 

  • Eau-de-vie de Marc des Côtes du Rhône : 80 HL d'alcool pur
  • Eau-de-vie de vin des Côtes du Rhône : 6 HL d'alcool pur

Recognition in AOC by the I.N.A.O. : 1948

Communes : 172 communes on six departments (Ardèche, Drôme, Gard, Loire, Rhône et Vaucluse)

Grape varieties

Main grape varieties

  • Bourboulenc
  • Clairette
  • Grenache blanc
  • Grenache noir
  • Marsanne
  • Mourvèdre
  • Roussanne
  • Syrah
  • Viognier

Secondary grape varieties

  • Bourboulenc
  • Brun argenté (locally known as Camarèse or Vaccarèse)
  • Caladoc
  • Carignan
  • Cinsault
  • Clairette
  • Clairette rose
  • Counoise
  • Couston
  • Grenache blanc
  • Grenache gris
  • Marsanne
  • Marselan
  • Muscardin
  • Piquepoul blanc
  • Piquepoul noir
  • Roussanne
  • Terret noir
  • Ugni blanc
  • Viognier

To know

History

The « Côte du Rhône » was born in the 15th century within the limits of the former civil diocese of Uzès. In this wine-growing region, pomaces and wines have sometimes been distilled for the production of brandy, traditionally by itinerant distillers traveling from village to village, or going directly to the wineries. The notoriety of these eaux-de-vie earned them recognition as “Appellation d’Origine règlementée” (regulated designation of origin) on March 19, 1948. They were registered in the Journal Officiel as a denomination in 1971, before being recognized and protected as Geographical Indications in 2008.

Climate

Mediterranean, with the beneficial influence of Mistral wind. Summers are hot and dry, interspersed with sometimes violent storms. Winters are mild, with relatively low rainfall and rare snow.

Soils

Côtes du Rhône appellation spreads over various types of soils, which influence the profiles of the spirits as they do the wines thanks to a terroir effect: clayey pebble-covered soils, stony soils, loess, sandy soils, but also granite soils and limestone soils.

Geography

The eaux-de-vie’s geographical production area is identical to the appellation area for Côtes du Rhône AOC, spreading over 172 municipalities on 6 departments (Ardèche, Drôme, Gard, Loire, Rhône et Vaucluse), with a total surface area of about 30,000 hectares.

Varieties and flavours

Eaux-de-vie are made from raw materials meeting the production criteria for AOC Côtes du Rhône wines and Crus. Grenache and Syrah grape varieties are here in their original terroir. The grapes are harvested at a low yield (30 to 50 hl/ ha), which contributes to the concentration of the aromas found in wines and in pomace. The distillation process concentrates these aromas, and ageing for varying periods of time provides the finesse and complexity that characterize these spirits. 

 

Fine des Côtes du Rhône: The “eau-de-vie de vin blanche” (white wine-based spirit) has aromas of fruits (grape, sour cherry) and flowers, and a round texture. The “eau-de-vie de vin vieillie sous bois” (oak-aged wine-based spirit) has an amber hue, floral and fruity aromas (hazelnut, prune…) along with notes of tobacco, caramel, vanilla…


Marc des Côtes du Rhône: The “eau-de-vie de marc blanche” (white pomace-based spirit) has aromas of fruits (grape, sour cherry) and flowers. The “eau-de-vie de marc vieillie sous bois” (oakaged pomace-based spirit) has an amber hue, aromas of liquorice, of dried fruits, of tobacco, with some touches of vanilla.

Other informations

Production process

The marc (pomace) comes from the controlled pressing of the grapes during winemaking. If it comes from the production of red wines, pressing happens after the alcoholic fermentation and the pomace naturally has a degree of alcohol allowing distillation. If it comes from the production of white and/or rosé wines, the skins are pressed before the alcoholic fermentation and will need to undergo fermentation before distillation.
At the end of distillation, coming out of the still, the eau-de-vie’s alcohol content must not exceed 72° abv.
This spirit is then aged for a minimum of three months in inert vessels for the “blanche”. Aged spirits (“vieillies”) are aged in wood vessels for at least 5 years, often in old oak barrels, and at least 10 years for spirits bearing the mention “hors d’âge”.

Inter Rhône

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