Areas spreading over 171 communes In the 6 Departments: Ardèche, Drôme, Gard, Loire, Rhône and Vaucluse.
2004 the Côtes du Rhône Appellation area expanded! 10 new communes suitable for the production of A.O.C. Côtes du Rhône wines (9 in the Gard and 1 in the Vaucluse) were added to the production area, and two communes (one in the Ardèche and one in the Drôme) were withdrawn due to urbanisation and wooded areas. All this brings the number of communes in the C.D.R. production zone to 171 (163 + 8).
Five main soil types are found in the Côtes du Rhône. The shingle clay soil, the stony “argilo-calcaireous” and the soils containing layered stone (on the mountain slopes) provide the vines with a regular source of water and at night give off heat that has been stored up by the stones throughout the day. These types of soil are especially appropriate for producing wine for laying down.
Alternatively, loess and sandy soils offer a more irregular supply of water and are more suitable for producing white, rosé and lighter red wines.
Area under cultivation: 40,326 hectares and 6,000 wine makers make the Regional Côtes du Rhône one of the leading AOC red wine producers in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur and Languedoc Rousillon region.
Basic yield: 52 hl/hectare.
Grape variety selection. Climate and the types of soil have influenced the type of grape varieties under cultivation. Each variety conveys its own specific character, which, when blended with other varieties, results in the production of well balanced finely tuned wines.
Grenache, the main grape variety for red wines, offers fruitiness, warmth and body. Syrah and Mourvèdre donate a hint of spices, as well as depth of colour and strength to the wine enabling it to age well.
Cinsault is the bearer of finesse and is ideal for making rosé and fruity first year wines. White wines, which are fresh and aromatic, are the result of blending together several grapes, such as Bourboulenc, Grenache white, Roussanne, Marsanne, Clairette, and / or Viognier.
In 1996, following an initiative on the part of the wine growers, a new Appellation decree came into force aimed at endorsing and strengthening the typical characteristics of Côtes du Rhône wines.
For the red and rosé wine, Grenache must make up at least 40% of the grape variety mix (excluding Northern wines based on the Syrah grape variety).
In the same way, 80% of the white wine grape variety mix is made up of: Grenache white, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussanne, Bourboulenc and Viognier.
Minimum alcoholic strength: 11% for red, rosé and white wines.
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