Regions and Appellations France Rhone Cote Rotie

Cote Rotie Wine

C?te R?tie is a prestigious red-wine appellation at the northern tip of France's Rh?ne Valley wine region. The Syrah vines on its steep, southeast-facing slopes produce wines which are both powerful and elegant. Improvements in quality have led to increases in demand for the wines – a cycle which turned so consistently that C?te R?tie wines are now some of France's most sought-after and most expensive.

Situated immediately south of Vienne and 35km (21 miles) from the center of Lyon, the C?te R?tie is the Rh?ne Valley's northernmost appellation, and one of its smallest. The parishes of Ampuis, Saint-Cyr-sur-le-Rh?ne and Tupin-et-Semons are the only three that may produce C?te R?tie wines, and even within the parishes, only certain plots qualify for the appellation.

C?te R?tie: the 'roasted slope'
(© Christophe Grilhé)

The steep hillsides (c?tes) here rise sharply from the banks of the River Rhone to heights of 330m(1,150ft). They form 10 narrow ridges no more than 600m (2,000ft) wide, each separated from the next by a narrow, tree-lined gully.

The ridges run roughly north-east to south-west, providing the sun-baked aspects that help to make the appellation's wines so rich and ripe. The very finest sites – the C?te Brune, C?te Blonde, La Mouline, La Landonne and La Turque – are those immediately above Ampuis town.

C?te R?tie wines are renowned for being elegant and finely structured, with complex aromas typical of the local terroir and of the Syrah grape variety from which they are made. As is the case in Crozes-Hermitage, an addition of up to 20 percent of the white variety Viognier is permitted under the appellation law, and producers take advantage of this to bring elegance and balance to their wines.

There is a recognized distinction between the two main wine styles of the appellation, manifested by the noticeably different wines from two of the title's most prized vineyards.

The wines from the C?te Blonde (immediately west of Ampuis) are lighter, fruitier, more sumptuous and approachable at an earlier age. Those from the C?te Brune (immediately above Ampuis) are made in a more structured, tannic, extracted style to capitalize on the effect of the iron soils, and often without an addition of Viognier.

The C?te Blonde is, as its name suggests, a hillside covered with lighter-colored sandy soils and a limestone base. The C?te Brune is no less true to its name, being a slope covered with reddish-brown soils, enriched with iron.

The soils of many Syrah/Shiraz-favored vineyards in Australia share this iron-rich soil type, and the temperatures to match. In fact, C?te R?tie means "roasted slope" in French, a highly appropriate name for many of the south-facing vineyards, which benefit from maximum exposure to the sun's rays.

Etienne and Marcel Guigal, whose family name is connected with so much high-quality northern Rh?ne wine, have been given substantial credit for the recent renaissance of the C?te R?tie and its reputation. For much of the 20th Century, the area was rather neglected and under-developed, with few wine producers capitalizing on its excellent viticultural conditions.

The Guigal wines from the La Mouline (C?te Blonde), La Landonne and La Turque (C?te Brune) vineyards grabbed attention all over the world, particularly from consumers and critics in the US, and have helped to establish C?te R?tie as one of the most dynamic appellations in France.

Supplementary information about C?te R?tie wines can be obtained from the Rh?ne Valley's trade body, Inter Rhone.

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Most Popular Cote Rotie Wine

Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Wine Name
Avg Price
E. Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline, Rhone, France Syrah - Viognier 282nd 95 $391
Domaine Jamet Cote Rotie, Rhone, France Syrah 299th 94 $188
E. Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne, Rhone, France Syrah 309th 96 $402
E. Guigal Cote Rotie La Turque, Rhone, France Syrah - Viognier 366th 95 $390
E. Guigal Chateau d'Ampuis Cote Rotie, Rhone, France Syrah 509th 93 $122
E. Guigal Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde de Guigal, Rhone, France Syrah 526th 91 $70
Domaine Jamet Cote Rotie Cote Brune, Rhone, France Syrah 1,237th 95 $518
Domaine Rene Rostaing Cote Rotie Cote Blonde, Rhone, France Syrah 1,313th 94 $183
Domaine Rene Rostaing Cote Rotie La Landonne, Rhone, France Syrah 1,356th 93 $155
M. Chapoutier Cote Rotie La Mordoree, Rhone, France Syrah 1,644th 93 $165
Domaine Yves et Mathilde Gangloff Cote Rotie La Sereine Noire, Rhone, France Syrah 1,997th 93 $189
Domaine Rene Rostaing Cote Rotie Cuvee Classique Ampodium, Rhone, France Syrah 2,187th 91 $73
Domaine Yves et Mathilde Gangloff Cote Rotie La Barbarine, Rhone, France Syrah - Viognier 2,973rd 92 $121
Marie et Pierre Benetiere Cote Rotie Cordeloux, Rhone, France Syrah 3,270th 90 $211
Michel & Stephane Ogier Cote Rotie, Rhone, France Syrah 3,644th 92 $78
Michel & Stephane Ogier Cote Rotie La Belle Helene, Rhone, France Syrah 3,899th 95 $338
Paul Jaboulet Aine Cote Rotie Les Jumelles, Rhone, France Syrah 4,382nd 89 $81
Vignobles Bernard Levet Cote Rotie La Chavaroche, Rhone, France Syrah 4,423rd 92 $85
Domaine Jasmin Cote Rotie, Rhone, France Syrah 4,469th 90 $93
Jean-Luc Jamet Cote Rotie 'Terrasses', Rhone, France Syrah 4,921st 90 $81
Domaine Jean-Michel Gerin Cote Rotie Les Grandes Places, Rhone, France Syrah 5,001st 93 $121
Bernard Burgaud Cote Rotie, Rhone, France Syrah 5,161st 91 $65
Domaine Rene Rostaing Cote Rotie Cote Brune, Rhone, France Syrah 5,233rd 94 $471
Delas Freres Cote-Rotie La Landonne, Rhone, France Syrah 5,331st 94 $206
Domaine Clusel-Roch Les Grandes Places Cote Rotie, Rhone, France Syrah 5,421st 93 $97
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