Rene Rostaing Cote-Rotie Classique 1999
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Today, Rostaing can boast 20+ acres of the finest vineyards in and around Côte-Rôtie. The wealth of vineyard holdings results in an astonishing array of wines. From several parcels of old vines that immediatly adjoin Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu, Rostaing produces a gorgeous non-appellation white and red called Les Lezardes. In Condrieu, he holds a tiny parcel in La Bonnette that yields some of the region’s most refined Viognier. Most of his Côte-Rôtie parcels are blended to produce the Cuvée Classique, a terrific expression of the appellation. And, of course, there are his two prized Côte-Rôtie special cuvées, La Landonne and Côte Blonde.
The cultivation of vines here began with Greek settlers who arrived in 600 BC. Its proximity to Vienne was important then and also when that city became a Roman settlement but its situation, far from the negociants of Tain, led to its decline in more modern history. However the 1990s brought with it a revival fueled by one producer, Marcel Guigal, who believed in the zone’s potential. He, along with the critic, Robert Parker, are said to be responsible for the zone’s later 20th century renaissance.
Where the Rhone River turns, there is a build up of schist rock and a remarkable angle that produces slopes to maximize the rays of the sun. Cote Rotie remains one of the steepest in viticultural France. Its varied slopes have two designations. Some are dedicated as Côte Blonde and others as Côte Brune. Syrahs coming from Côte Blonde are lighter, more floral, and ready for earlier consumption—they can also include up to 20% of the highly scented Viognier. Those from Côte Brune are more sturdy, age-worthy and are typically nearly 100% Syrah. Either way, a Cote Rotie is going to have a particularly haunting and savory perfume, expressing a more feminine side of the northern Rhone.
Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah makes an intense, powerful and often age-worthy red. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah achieves its maximum potential in the steep village of Hermitage and plays an important component in the Red Blends of Southern Rhône, adding color and structure to Grenache and Mourvèdre. Syrah is the most widely planted grape of Australia and is important in California and Washington. Sommelier Secret—Such a synergy these three create together, the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre trio often takes on the shorthand term, “GSM.”