Côtes du Rhône

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

This expression is sometimes used for the entire Rhône valley, but the specific appellation, granted in 1937, has almost become French for red wine. With beaujolais and bordeaux aoc, Côtes du Rhône has almost become a commodity, which must be discouraging for the increasing number of seriously quality-minded producers of it—even if this means that their wines are some of France’s best value. The great majority of Côtes du Rhône comes from the flatter, arid, often windswept vineyards of the southern Rhône, typically a light fruity red wine made, using full or semi-carbonic maceration, by one of the many co-operatives in the region. But the extraordinary Domaine de Fonsalette, produced as an adjunct to Ch Rayas in Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a fine, ageworthy wines by any measure. A significant proportion of this wine is released as a primeur, in competition with Beaujolais Nouveau. Less than 4% of Côtes du Rhône is white, but rosé, specifically for summer drinking in the region, constitutes about 7% of the total.