The crown jewel of the southern Rhône valley is an appellation with a unique terroir and impeccable wine blends.
With its storied history and scenic charm, Côtes du Rhône is renowned for its remarkable beauty and the diverse flavours of its many wine varieties and blends. Ranging from distinct fruity-yet-fiery reds to complex oak-aged whites, with so much variety they’re well suited to many occasions and are easily paired with meals to broaden and entice the senses.
With the Rhône River travelling over 500 miles from the Alps toward the Mediterranean Sea, this expansive wine region is the second-largest appellation in France. With a rich history rooted in the secrets of its soil, Côtes du Rhône has a distinguished reputation today that’s been 2,000 years in the making. The first grapevines were cultivated in the valley by the Greeks around 125 BC before the ancient Romans built villas and wineries to refine production in the first century AD.
Favoured by kings along with the nearby papal community in Avignon, it was 1729 when a royal decree declared all wine barrels must be branded with the initials C.D.R. to distinguish its quality. Officially declared an AOC appellation in 1937, Côtes du Rhône’s reputation for quality, taste and diversity continues to depend on this highly respected designation today.
With 44,000 hectares, its sunny Mediterranean climate has created a bedrock essential to the aromas of the grapes produced from the region’s variety of soils including granite, sand, limestone and clay. The mistral–a powerful, high-pressure, dry wind that flows through the Rhône Valley–is beneficial to the grapes as it balances temperatures, eliminates excess root water, and clears away clouds to ensure ample sunny days for grapes grown to perfection.
With 15 different grapes in the Côtes du Rhône AOC, producers can craft wines with unique characteristics in many different styles. The appellation produces affordable wines of distinct quality that are food-friendly and easily paired with everyday dining. Most of the region’s wines don’t require aging and are medium-bodied, with spices that match well with a variety of meats like braised beef, roasted chicken or pork, lamb, and chili, as well as an assortment of soft and hard cheeses.
With more than 20 varieties of reds and rosés, along with a select collection of whites, expect flavours of fresh cherries, strawberry, black raspberry and a melange of fresh herbs grown regionally. With its distinct pedigree, Côtes du Rhône produces the quintessential wine for celebrations of all sorts, from casual dining to early evening aperitifs and elaborate four-course meals–it’s pleasing to the palate and a most welcome guest at any table.