3 Things to Expect from a Côtes du Rhône Wine
If you enjoy French wine, you’ve likely run across bottles of Côtes du Rhône in your local wine shop.
The Côtes du Rhône is located in southern France in the southern part of the Rhône valley.
So, what should you expect when you’re considering picking up a Côtes du Rhône?
Here are three things to expect from a Côtes du Rhône:
1. Expect a Côtes du Rhône to be red, fruity, light-to-medium-bodied and largely composed of grenache.
Expect a Côtes du Rhône to be red, fruity, light-to-medium-bodied and largely composed of grenache.
This is because red wine accounts for 87% of Côtes-du-Rhône production followed by rosé at 8% and white wine at 5% of production.
Grenache is the most widely planted red grape variety in the Côtes du Rhône, followed by syrah, mourvédre, cinsault and carignan.
At its best grenache gives way to spicy, red-fruit flavors.
A Côtes du Rhône is typically a blend composed of several grape varietals with grenache-syrah-mourvédre blends being very common among red blends.
White blends are composed largely of grenache blanc, clairette, marsanne, roussanne, bourboulenc and viognier.
2. Expect a Côtes du Rhône to offer value for the price point.
Expect a Côtes du Rhône to offer value for the price point.
The Côtes du Rhône is one of the largest wine-producing regions in France and produces an enormous volume of wine across an expansive vineyard area of over 31,000 hectares.
The Côtes du Rhône exports over 30% of its wine, and the United States is one of the region’s top-three export countries.
This is why you’ll find so many Côtes du Rhônes on the shelves of your local wine shop.
Côtes du Rhônes are enjoyed by the French themselves as inexpensive, everyday-drinking wines.
Cooperatives are responsible for two-thirds of total production in the southern Rhône which creates competition and positively impacts the affordability of these wines.
If you find yourself enjoying Côtes du Rhône most of which is priced under $20, you can step up your southern-Rhône game ($25+) with wines made from smaller, nearby crus appellations including Côtes du Rhône Villages, Vacqueyras, Gigondas, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Lirac, and Tavel.
3. Expect that while you may largely gravitate towards red Côtes du Rhône, you may also enjoy rosé and white blends.
Expect that while you may largely gravitate towards red Côtes du Rhône, you may also enjoy rosé and white blends coming from the area.
Most of the Côtes du Rhônes I buy are red, but I’ve recently been impressed with rosés from the area that have been bright and fresh with hints of earthiness and minerality.
Because so much rosé on the market is neutral plonk, I especially appreciate rosé with actual flavor.
And of course, if you enjoy viognier (like me), you’ll enjoy the white blends that often feature this grape variety in a robust, white-wine style.
Côtes du Rhônes I’ve Enjoyed
Looking to start your Côtes-du-Rhône journey?
Here are some Côtes du Rhônes I’ve enjoyed:
- Domaine Roche, Côtes du Rhône 2017, Rhône, France (Wine Casual, 89 Points)
- Ferraton Père & Fils, Samorëns Côtes-du-Rhône 2017, Rhône, France (Wine Casual, 90 Points)
- Cellier des Dauphins, Reserve Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2021, Rhône, France (Wine Casual, 90 Points)
- Ferraton Père & Fils, Samorëns Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2018, Rhône, France (Wine Casual, 91 Points)
- Delas Freres, Saint Esprit Côtes du Rhône 2019, Rhône, France (Wine Casual, 91 Points)
- Joseph Castan, Trésor du Rhône Côtes du Rhône 2020, Rhône, France (Wine Casual, 92 Points)
- André Brunel, La Bécassonne Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2019, Rhône, France (Wine Casual, 93 Points)
- Halos de Jupiter, Côtes du Rhône 2018, Rhône, France (Wine Casual, 93 Points)