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Wine By Region Right Europe Right France Right Rhône Right Northern Rhône Right Côte-Rôtie

Côte-Rôtie is one of the most famous appellations for red wine in the world. The appellation is considered one of the three best of the Rhône along with Hermitage and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The name loosely translates in English to "roasted slope"; the region is so named because of the high amount of sunlight that the vineyards are exposed to. Hot-climate flavors are absolutely mastered in this region, which practically defined the style. In addition, Côte-Rôtie is known for the slightly floral elements of its wines, often brought on by the addition of Viognier into the blends.

At around 550 acres, Côte-Rôtie is much smaller than Châteauneuf and about 1/3 larger than Hermitage. About 100,000 cases of wine are produced each year. The vineyards are located in only three villages, which makes these wines exceptionally consistent. Ampuis is the largest at six square miles, while Saint-Cyr and Tupin-et-Semons are smaller communes.


With production dating back to the early Roman era, Côte-Rôtie wines have a very long history. Records indicate that the current method of production began to make good wines in the Middle Ages, but the region was little-known for centuries. It took rail transport to bring the more obscure appellations of France into the public eye, and as soon as the Rhône became a major wine region Côte-Rôtie came to be considered one of the finest of its subregions. Still, up until recently Hermitage wines were considered much better; in the past 50 years or so Côte-Rôtie has closed the gap almost entirely. Côte-Rôtie received AOC status in 1940.

Climate and Viticulture

The northerly situated Côte-Rôtie has a more continental climate than the Rhône regions located on the Mediterranean. The climate is very similar to that of Hermitage. The soil also echoes Hermitage, mostly consisting of schist. This is the soil type that really gives northern Rhône wines their unique character.

Grape Varieties

Côte-Rôtie wines, unlike those of Hermitage, are not always pure Syrah. Although Syrah can legally make up 100% of the wine, up to 20% Viognier can be blended in to add an often intriguing floral component to the wine. Neither too heavy nor too light, the wines blend flavors of blackcurrant, blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry, and black cherry with deep nuances of smoked game, cooked meat, tobacco, coffee, and florality. The best wines of Côte-Rôtie seriously challenge those of Hermitage in terms of depth, structure, and layered complexity. The wines are decent after a few years but improve significantly as they age.

Major Producers

We list eight producers as the best of Côte-Rôtie. However, most wines from the region are quite good; due to the homogeneous nature of the climate, this is considered one of the most reliable appellations in the Rhône.


Côte-Rôtie can be divided into two sections: Côte Brune and Côte Blonde. These are informal names not required by law, and most wines don't utilize them on the label.

Here are four very well-known Côte-Rôtie vineyards: