France: Rhône Valley

Around Ampuis and Condrieu

The wines of Côte Rôtie, Condrieu and Saint Joseph
By John Wheeldon

This Guide was last updated on 08 August 2011
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Main wine styles

Reds

Côte Rôtie is a robust but elegant wine, harsh in its youth, but develops a bouquet of violets, raspberries, vanilla and spice with age. Wines from the Côte Brune are powerful and age slowly, whilst those from Côte Blonde are more delicate. Red Saint Joseph wines are somewhat softer with blackberry and raspberry perfumes with hints of liquorice and leather. Many of the wines show oak influence. Whereas large foudres were the tradition, today, most producers in the area, especially for Côte Rôtie use small barriques, with some proportion of new oak. The best of these wines will age for ten years or more.

Whites

Condrieu is a dry wine with aromas of apricots, pears, almonds and violets and is usually for drinking between one to three years old. The late harvest wines are rich, concentrated and unctuous. White Saint Joseph is a fresh dry wine with honey and acacia aromas - the best cuvées are mostly Roussanne. White Côtes du Rhône wines have delicate floral tones.

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