Size & Type
It is, however, a much warmer climate and better suited to its region varieties, Syrah and Viognier.
First Records of Wine Production
The earliest record of viticulture in the region dates to the 2nd century BC when the Romans first encountered the Allobroges tribe whose territory included the regions around Vienne. While winemaking continued to have a long history in the region, the Côte-Rôtie did not receive much recognition until the 18th century when Parisians began discovering the wines of Beaujolais and Rhône.
Until a few decades ago, Côte-Rôtie was not a serious competitor to Hermitage, which was the best-known northern Rhône vineyard internationally. Demand for Rhône wines began to grow in the early 1970s, and this growth accelerated from the late 1970s/early 1980s. For Côte-Rôtie it was the wines of Marcel Guigal which gave the appellation increased attention from the early 1980s. This included top marks from international wine critics for Guigal’s wines La Mouline and La Landonne. This increase in demand led to new vineyards being created. From 1982 to 2005, the area with planted vines increased from 102 hectares (250 acres) to 231 hectares (570 acres).
Most Common Varieties
The red, Syrah AKA Shiraz, and white, Viognier.
The blending of Shiraz and the white grape Viognier originated in Côte-Rôtie. The interplay between the two varieties is truly something special.
The 100% Syrah wines of the region can be equally compelling.
It’s permitted to add up to 20% Viognier to the red wines of Côte Rôtie.
Co-fermenting rather than blending finished wines simply results in greater harmony and expression.
The colour of the wine becomes darker as a scientific phenomenon known as co-pigmentation occurs, small compounds from the Viognier stabilises the large colour compounds from the Shiraz.
Perfume, flowers, and, spice from the Viognier adding intrigue to the aroma. Making it so much more inviting!
Those aromas carry through to the palate where the last bit of magic happens. The tannins develop differently to 100% Shiraz wines, beautifully refined, and, silky they offer a wonderful feeling in your mouth. mouthfeel.
Tim Kirk from Clonkilla was kindly sent me a mixed case, including some experimental wines not for release. In it, 3 wines, 100% Viognier, 100% Shiraz, the components of his Shiraz Viognier, and, the Shiraz Viognier itself. A fascinating tasting, you could see how each of the component wines contributed to the blend. The blend just had something extra. This is the result of fermenting the red grapes of Shiraz with the white Viognier. The chemical soup that exists during fermentation ends up coming together to be greater than the sum of its parts.
In Côte-Rôtie the vineyards are mixed plantings with Viognier vines next to Shiraz, all picked at the same time. The proportion of Viognier ranging from none up to 10-12%.
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