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The Côte-Rôtie vineyards are one of the oldest in France !


The excellence and rare finesse of these wines have built its reputation. This northern AOC only produces very powerful red wines made from Syrah and some Viogner. It hangs on the impressive slopes of the right bank of the Rhône, 30 km south of Lyon. A terraced vineyard which is absolutely not mechanised and where everything is done manually on these hillside plots, very well exposed and spread over the Côte Brune and the Côte Blonde. Legend relates that in the Middle Ages, the Lord of Maugiron had endowed each of his two daughters, one blond and the other brunette, with the best slopes of his heritage. The geological difference of these two terroirs influences the nature of the wines that come from them. The Côte Brune produces dense, highly colored (almost black), tannic, powerful wines with very animal characteristics, while the Côte Blonde produces more aromatic, more fragrant wines with more roundness and suppleness. A vineyard that almost disappeared and experienced its rebirth after WW1, under the impetus of some dynamic winegrowers such as Marcel Guigal, and which today is pushed forward by a few talented enthusiasts, such as Yves Cuilleron, Jean-Michel Gerin, Stéphane Pichat, Georges Vernay, Jean Villa and Louis Chèze.

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cÔte-rôtie bestsellers

flagship estates 

Jean-Michel Gerin
Stéphane Ogier
Domaine Georges Vernay
Cave Yves Cuilleron


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Besides the origin (Côte Brune and/or Côte Blonde) which influences the wine, its particularity also depends on the proportion of Viognier added (20% max.) to the main grape variety, Syrah. Beneath its sumptuous dark purple color, one can guess a beautiful tannic structure confirmed in retro-nasal by persistent aromas: the mark of a great wine! Long and structured on the palate, with exceptional aromatic length that continues with age, Côte-Rôtie flirts first with fruity aromas such as raspberry, cherry, blackcurrant and blackberry, and floral, especially due to the violet of the Syrah. The slightly spicy flavors are well present: cinnamon, liquorice, pepper. The most impressive aromas that sometimes stand out are coffee, tobacco and cocoa.

➵ In Côte Brune, in the North, the soils are terraced and very steep slopes, made up of ferrous mica schists. The terroir gives very dark, tannic, powerful and animal wines. As they age, leather and undergrowth notes harmonise with aromas of violet and raspberry.

➵In Côte Blonde, on the other hand, the geology is more varied, but one notes the predominance of gneiss and granite in the extreme south of the appellation. The proportion of Viognier being more important, the wines are rounder, suppler and constitute an excellent aromatic bouquet. All the magic of blending a red and a white grape variety!

As it ages, the colour becomes more tile-red and the tannins fade. A Côte-Rôtie wine can easily be kept for 15 years, or even longer depending on the cuvée and vintage.

Food and wine pairings

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Small game stew; Red meats: offal, marinated meats, stewed beef, slow cooked leg of lamb or a prime rib of beef. White meats: Terrines, roast poultry, meat in sauce. Wild mushrooms to emphasize the aromas of undergrowth. Soft rind cheeses such as Saint Nectaire, Livarot. To be reserved for the most prestigious tables or festive days! However, avoid overly spicy dishes, as the wine itself is very powerful. During the first 8 years, remember to decant it two hours before serving.

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From Pliny to nowadays

The Côte-Rôtie vineyard is one of the oldest in France. The AOC appellation of this red wine is spread over 3 communes: Saint-Cyr-le-Rhône, Ampuis and Tupin-Semons; it brings together about one hundred producers from sixty estates. Côte-Rôtie wine is based on two main grape varieties: Syrah and Viognier. Renowned Domains such as Guigal, Chapoutier or Georges Vernay really know how to attain success with this wine. Discover the selection of our sommeliers!

The Côte-Rôtie vineyard is considered to be one of the oldest vineyards in France. It is in the 6th century that we find the first precise written documents concerning Ampuis and Côte-Rôtie. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the reputation of the Ampuis wines only increased. Before the revolution, there were shipments of wines from the Côte-Rôtie to the princely tables of England, Russia, Prussia and of course France.

The vineyard reached its apogee in 1890: the slightest slopes were cultivated, as long as they were exposed to the sun. Some plots of land forced the winegrowers to carry their harvest over almost a kilometer, along particularly difficult goat paths. At that time, phylloxera attacks and other diseases did not discourage the winegrowers; but although they had managed to control these disasters, the First World War of 1914-1918 ruined their efforts; by taking more than 150 men, it condemned part of the slopes to abandonment. This ordeal was only overcome at the beginning of the sixties.

The Syndicat Viticole d'Ampuis was created in 1953. In the years that followed, the syndicate, unable to bring itself to watch the prestigious vineyard die out, took decisions with the town council to restructure and revitalise the appellation area. These daring initiatives enabled the renewal of Côte-Rôtie and encouraged young winegrowers to continue the work of their elders.

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