THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BRUNE AND BLONDE               

Practical outcome: what will you know

  • what reasons determine the unique Cote-rotie capability to produce great wines

  • what wines styles are produced there in Cote-rotie

  • how come that white grapes are added to improve the quality of  redsrld

JUST SOME FACTS ABOUT ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE VYNEYARD IN THE WORLD

 

  1. Cote brune and Cote blonde - two of the most famous vineyards of Cote-rotie. A legend says that local landlord de Maugeron named them after his daughters – one was brunettes and the other blonde. Located side by side near the village of  Ampuis, these vineyard indeed differ greatly one from another. Wines from Cote blonde are soft, subtle and graceful, while those from Cote brune are darker and more dense.

  2. Serine - one of the oldest clones of Syrah. It was preserved here in its pure form due to enthusiasm of local producers . Small in size, elongated olive-shaped, unstable to diseases Serine grapes provide the most sophisticated and elegant wines.

Not too deep in color, middle body and alcohol, "northern" in style, these Cote-roties were sold as Burgundy reds, they were much more expensive than spicy, dark and alcoholic wines from next door appellations.

3. “Dizziness” is a nickname for Chaillets – high and narrow dry stonework terraces, built in Roman times. Machine harvesting is impossible here, to yield more than 23 hl per (when 40 hl is allowed) is impossible, full biodynamics (deep plowing) is absolutely impossible.

4. Viognier – a  white grape variety which Cote-rotie winemakers are allowed to add up to 20% to their red wines.  

Historically it was practiced in particularly hot years only, but, having appreciated how much this practice added to the tertiary wine aromatics, Viognier now is being added almost every year.

Only the highest quality Viognier grapes, harvested just up to 10 days later those from Condrieu appellation, are taken for this practice. Viognier adds to Cote-rotie reds a phenolic ripeness not the acidity.

5. Due to the destructive influence of the Mistrals, winds coming seasonally from the west, a very popular type of vine cultivation called espalier can’t be used in Cote-rotie. Each young vine here is tied up to two props, installed in pairs in the shape of an inverted "V" and is fostered individually similar to houseplants.

6. A very rear soil type called Sol D'Arzel is considered to make a highly valuable impact to the quality of Cote-rotie wines. Due to the tertiary earthquakes these soils provide excellent drainage which allows the vines to reach the deep mineral water layers. In Arzel wines you will find complex aromas of violets, spices and dried red fruits,  with time they gain exceptional strength and quality.

7. There are 73 Lie-dits - unique vineyards - in Cote-rotie. The very best are located on the north Arzel soils and widely famous with their Cote brune wines - La Turque, La Landonne, Rozier, Vialliere, Grand Places. Those wine are tannic and slowly maturing and really exceptional, but south Cote blonde lie-dits produced the wines so elegant and delicate they easily compete with northern lie-dits.

8. Three communes - Ampuis, Tupan-Semon, Saint-Sur-Rhône - share 210 hectares of Cote-rotie vineyards. Just 25 years ago they produces very different styles of wine - powerful and smoked for one, thoroughbred and fruit for another, soft and elegant for the third. Today, however, this is not easy to make a distinction between them. In most cases they make blends of local wine materials and bet on unique style, not on origin. Some paste the wines with egg white (similar to Chateau Margaux from Bordeaux), others keep wines on lees for really long time (up to 40 months), yet anothers use rotovinificators and imply the technique similar to the one used for Barolo production…

 ADDING TO "I AM MY OWN SOMMELIER" PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE BASE

  • both soft and gentle as well as tannic and full-body wines of Cote-rotie are in the list of first world wines

  • one of the reason Cote-rotie is capable of producing great wines is its unique soil and landscape

  • each vine in Cote-rotie slopes is cultivated separately similar to homeplant

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