Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Côte, means literally ‘slope’ or ‘hill’ in French, Côtes is the plural, while Coteau (of which Coteaux is the plural) means much the same thing but possibly on a smaller scale. Since French vine-growers are great believers in the viticultural merits of hillsides, all of these make suitable wine names. Thus, any index of French wine names contains long lists of Côte, Côtes, and Coteaux de, du, de la, and des various place-names, suggesting, often with reason, that the wine comes from the slopes above these places. Some of these prefixes are eventually dropped, however. Côtes de Buzet, for example, was renamed plain buzet in the late 1980s, and Côtes du Ventoux has become ventoux.