Cotes du Rhone
The Rhone Valley, by its very nature, has always been the ideal route between the Mediterranean and northern Europe and the Atlantic.
The Ancient Greeks used the Rhone to travel into the heart of Gaul to carry out trade. Wine production continued apace with the arrival of the Romans in 125 BC.
The Romans built the city of Vienne and then planted the Vienne vineyards, which soon developed a considerable renown.
The Romans had to undertake huge double-digging projects to plant the vines before building the walls to protect the terraces.
It is the various climates, soils and grape varieties that make Côtes du Rhône wines so characteristic, but more than geographical unity, perhaps, it is the desire and labour of the winegrowers that have given the wines their real personality, and enabled the attribution of an AOC.
The climate is Mediterranean, its most striking feature being the mistral, the strong wind born of the difference in atmospheric pressure between the north and the south and that is so beneficial to the vines. The region’s climate is characterised by its seasonality, with heavy rains, high temperatures and exceptional amounts of sunshine.
Fun Facts about Cotes du Rhone:
2nd largest French A.O.C. wine region in terms of surface area and production
First business activity in the Rhone Valley in terms of direct or indirect employment
320 million euros annual turnover in exports in 2008
141 countries in the world drank Rhône Valley wines in 2008
96% of wine-drinkers in France know Côtes du Rhône AOC wines