The Rhone appellation furthest north, the translation of Cote Rotie is "roasted slope," named after the region's very steep, south facing slopes that have ideal exposure to the sun. There are two main slopes, Cote Brunes & Cote Blondes. They are just as they sound, with the darker Brunes soils consisting of rich clay and iron, producing firm and robust wine. The lighter soils of the Blondes slope contain more slate and limestone, making elegant and soft wine. Wine can be from one designated slope, or a blend of both – the label will designate which it is.
Like all Northern Rhone appellations, Syrah
is the only grape allowed in Cote-Rotie. However, Cote-Rotie allows up to 20% of the more aromatic and elegant white grape, Viognier
, to be blended into the red wines. From the Cote-Blondes slope, the grape makes no single-varietal white wines, it's only used to blend. In fact, no white wines at all come from Cote-Rotie. The reds, from both slopes, are marked for being elegant and complex, as well as ageworthy.