A Fresh Look at the Côtes du Rhône



I always like to post a map of a country in order to see where a region lies within that country. We can clearly see the Côtes-du-Rhône in this colorful one. What we don’t see in this map is what a large area it is and how many wonderful and historic towns and villages are located here with the amazing wines they produce.

Before looking more closely at the wine areas, I just want to delve into the history of this area which has been famous since 600 BC. As in many areas, it was the Greeks who settled this part of France founding a town called Massalia. It’s possible that the Etruscans were in the area even before the Greeks but it was the Romans whose impact is still seen in so many parts of this region.

Avignon, Orange and many other towns come to mind when thinking about this area. I haven’t been to this part of France in many moons but I will never forgot a fantastic family trip or travels when I was a French student.

Since then I have largely traveled to the Cotes du Rhone through my wineglass. I always find wines from the Cotes du Rhone overdelivered and were a safe bet when one doesn’t know a specific product on a wine list. I remember being on a date with someone who told me he always choose wines from the Cotes du Rhone because he was certain he would get good wine. He was not a wine person but he did want to make a good impression he said and found that these wines allowed him to seem both in the know and not be too dear.

Copyright @Côtes-du-Rhône

For this month’s #Winophiles chat, I was lucky enough to have received a number of samples of different wines and styles. I haven’t yet tried them all and will post individually about them but they did give me the chance to look at the region again with fresh eyes.

The terroir in this area just like the wines is quite varied across eras, elevation, and materials. The Massif Central plays a role in the formation of these soils as does their specific location in proximity to the river.

Northern parts of the area have vineyards close to the river with a continental climate. Many have rocks from the Massif central. The South is less dramatic, hotter, and more Mediterranean.

Some of the soils one finds are limestone, usually in the Northern areas while Sand soils are more prevalent in the South. Famed for its pudding stones, the area near Chateauneuf du Pape is famed for these.

The varieties planted also depend on the terroir of course from whites to reds. The wine pyramid has a large base made from the Côtes du Rhône regional appellation with the Côtes du Rhône Villages (with or without village name) on a higher rung.

There are so many amazing wines to choose from, you literally can’t go wrong when looking for a wine to suit your dish, your mood, and your wallet.

French Winophiles Côtes du Rhône Finds
Take a look below at all the great ideas posted by my fellow French Winophiles writers. Our combined thanks to Côtes-du-Rhône Wines for supplying wine samples for many of our posts! Please join our Côtes-du-Rhône chat on Saturday September 18, 11am. Simply search for us on Twitter at #Winophiles, we’d love to hear what you think!


  1. I always find the history of this region so fascinating. This really was the route that many vines took into France, coming up through the Mediterranean. wine is ancient here.

    • Wine always seems to me to be the nexus of some many interests – history, culture, tradition, science, pleasure, art. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Mediterranean.

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