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No rolling hillsides here !

Côte-Rôtie wines, made from vines planted on the right bank of the Rhône, owe their character to the area’s very steep slopes, which in places reach gradients of over 60°. This very narrow vineyard is planted on terraces not more than a few dozen vines wide. This is the northernmost appellation in the Rhône Valley, located just a few miles from Lyon. Côte-Rôtie wines are grown, produced and matured by the “Centurie de Probus” (Probus’s Centurions), a group of around one hundred dedicated winemakers who look after the vineyards and their 60 estates. The prestigious Côte-Rôtie cru is made from Syrah, which when blended with Viognier, shows incredible elegance of aroma and extraordinarily fine tannins. Its superb ruby red colour, its complex, elegant nose of spice, red and black berry fruit and violets, its full body and impeccable pedigree make this a highly sought-after wine. Find it at January’s wine market in Ampuis, a major, unmissable annual event for this appellation.




Birth of AOC Côte-Rôtie

2,000 years ago, Roman writers Martial and Pliny the Elder, along with Greek biographer Plutarch, lauded the wines of Côte-Rôtie, calling them the “wines of Vienne,” while the first written documentation mentioning Ampuis and Côte-Rôtie by name dates back to the 6th century. In the Middle Age and during the Renaissance, the popularity of Ampuis wines continued to grow. In the 18th century, they graced the tables of princes in England, Russia and Prussia and, of course, France. By 1890, the vineyards were at their peak; even the tiniest piece of hillside facing the sun was being farmed. Having escaped the devastating effects of phylloxera and other diseases, the vineyards were badly hit by the Wold War 1, when some 150 local winegrowers were killed; a number of slopes were subsequently abandoned. By 1960, only about 60 hectares remained planted. The 1980s brought a revival, however, and the appellation once again became a major player on the world stage.



The Côte-Rôtie vineyards grow on slopes on the right bank of the Rhône, across the three communes of Saint-Cyr sur Rhône, Ampuis and Tupin-Semons, and lie between 180 and 325m above sea level. They include 73 officially-registered lieux-dits.


The vineyards face south, and are not greatly affected by northerly winds. The climate can largely be described as continental, similar to that of Lyon. Winters are mild, summers are hot, and rainfall is relatively regular. The Mediterranean influence is seen mainly in the dry southerly winds.


A particular geology

The slopes of Côte-Rôtie are extremely steep, reaching gradients of over 60° in places. Almost all the vineyards are planted on metamorphic rock. The varying pressure and temperatures – hotter in the south of the appellation – have helped create three distinct terroirs: mica schist to the north, gneiss to the south and migmatite in the extreme south east. The parent rock features a large number of fissures and fractures, allowing roots to find water and other nutrients.

Key figures

Key figures of the appellation

100% red


29 hl/ha

Average annual yield

327 ha

Production surface area

9 544 hl

Total production

33 %


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Inter Rhône - Key Figures 2021

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