The history of Côte-Rôtie wines has been writing itself for two millennia. The wines of Côte-Rôtie have always enjoyed an excellent reputation and testify to a rich viticultural past. As early as 71 AD, Pliny the Elder praised the quality of the "Viennese" wine. The reputation of Côte-Rôtie wines did not wane over the centuries.
Many legends punctuate the history of the Côte-Rôtie vineyards. For example, the legend behind the famous Côte Brune and Côte Blonde terroirs. In the 16th century, Lord Maugiron is said to have divided his estate between his two daughters, one with blonde hair, the other with jet black hair. These two famous terroirs of the Côte-Rôtie are now called the Côte Blonde and the Côte Brune.
Throughout history, the wines of Côte-Rôtie have been served at the court and finest royal gatherings in Europe. The Côte-Rôtie vineyard reached its peak around 1890, with winegrowers cultivating the entire vineyard. In addition to phylloxera, the First World War wiped out the development of the vineyard because of the men lost in battle. The Côte-Rôtie vineyard was fully reborn in the 1970s.
Côte-Rôtie is an appellation of the northern part of the Rhône Valley that was established in 1940 and covers 280 hectares of vines, extending over the communes of Ampuis, Saint-Cyr-sur-le-Rhône and Tupin-et-Semons. Located 30 kilometres south of Lyon, on the right bank of the Rhône and at an altitude of between 140 and 320 metres above sea level, the Côte-Rôtie vineyard is built on terraces and on very steep slopes. The slopes reach up to 60% and the soil types are diverse.
Although the Côte-Rôtie AOC is the most northerly of the Côtes-du-Rhône crus, it is also the one that perfectly embodies the finesse of Rhône wines. The Côte-Rôtie appellation has the particularity of being able to blend a white grape variety, Viognier, with a red grape variety, Syrah. Thus, a bottle of Côte-Rôtie must be at least 80% Syrah and 20% Viognier at most.
With a deep ruby red colour, the red wines of Côte-Rôtie reveal a beautiful, fine and powerful aromatic expression. They offer superbly rich tannins and a great depth. Some great houses are known for their bottle of Côte-Rôtie red wine: E. Guigal, M. Chapoutier, Domaine Paul Jaboulet, Domaine Georges Vernay, Delas, Domaine Stéphane Ogier, Tardieu Laurent, Yves Cuilleron or François Villard offer legendary wines from one of the most beautiful terroirs of the Rhône Valley.