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Follow the river!

Along the length of its winding waters and gentle banks, the Côtes du Rhône vineyards flourish across 171 communes with their variety of rich, varied terroirs, all bathed by the same bountiful sun. Take the time to stop and explore; you’ll be astounded by their variety and distinctive characters. And they include some hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. The winegrowers of AOC Côtes du Rhône have one objective: to make the very best wines they can, from vineyard to bottle. It’s a wine that is rich, generous and pleasing with spicy overtones.

Côtes du Rhône

History

1937
1937

Birth of AOC Côtes du Rhône

The Rhône Valley has always been a convenient link between the Mediterranean and Northern or Atlantic Europe. Significant archaeological finds, along with historical studies, have established that the Côtes du Rhône was one of the world’s first winegrowing regions. As early as 125 BC, the Romans founded the town and vineyards of Vienne, planting vines and building walls to protect the terraces. They made it into one of the most attractive areas in this part of Gaul. In the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, wine production here was detailed in various written documents, and certainly by the 17th and 18th century, winemaking in the Rhône Valley was thriving. In 1650, regulations were introduced to ensure that the wine was authentic, and to safeguard its quality. Later, in 1737, a royal decree stipulated that all barrels destined for sale or transport must be branded with the letters “C.D.R”. The area’s fame increased further still and was formalised in 1937, when it became the AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) Côtes du Rhône.

Geography

Territory

The appellation vineyards stretch from Vienne to Avignon. The Côtes du Rhône appellation includes 171 communes across six départements: Ardèche, Drôme, Gard, Loire, Rhône and Vaucluse), covering an area of around 30,000 hectares.

Climate

The climate here is Mediterranean, refreshed by the cleansing Mistral wind wind. Summers are hot and dry, with sometimes violent storms. Rainfall is low, and snow is rare.

Soils

A particular geology

The Cotes du Rhône Regional appellation features five main soil types:

  • Rocky clay soils, pebbles and stony deposits (on hills and slopes) provide nutrients and a regular water supply. At night, they also release the heat stored by the stones during the day. These conditions are particularly well suited to producing wines with good ageing potential.
  • Loess and sandy soils provide a less uniform water supply. They are better suited to making red and rosé wines and some lighter reds.
Key figures

Key figures of the appellation

84% red
10 rosé
6% white

Colors

42 hl/ha

Average annual yield

30 749 ha

Production surface area

1 280 240 hl

Total production

31%

Exportation

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Discover our grape varieties

Rhone wines derive their style, richness and originality from the diversity of the region's grape varieties. Learn all about them…

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Find out about the Rhone vineyards : terroirs, soils, climate, grape varieties and, of course, flavours… as if you were visiting in person.