The history of the Chapoutier family stretches back to the early nineteenth century when current owner Michel Chapoutier’s great-, great-, great-grandfather Marius purchased an estate and some vineyards in the now famous village of Tain l’Hermitage in the Northern Rhône Valley. Marius Chapoutier made history in the region when he became the first grape grower there to vinify his own fruit. Marius had tasted wines other winemakers produced using his fruit and he realized that something was lost in translation, so to speak. He knew that he owned some of the best growing sites in the appellation and he believed — rightly — that the grapes grown in his vineyards could produce long-lived world-class wines. In a move unusual at the time, he decided that he should make the wine himself. Not only did the quality of the wines increase greatly, but this move provided the capital to expand the Chapoutiers’ already legendary estate.
A visionary and pioneer in biodynamic winemaking, his restless energy and unconditional commitment to quality have produced tremendous success, with the most 90+ point ratings of all Rhône producers and 16 "100 point" rated wines. View all M. Chapoutier Wines
About Cote RotieView a map of Cote Rotie wineries (cote roh-TEE)
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.
Notable FactsLike 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.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.