Vineyard of Côte-Rôtie
Like its neighbor Condrieu, Côte-Rôtie and its vineyards were once part of the ancient vineyard of Vienne.
It was first developed by the Romans, but its reputation spread beyond borders during the Renaissance when its ambrosial wine was served in British, Russian and Prussian royal houses.
The vineyard reached its zenith in 1890 with 300 hectares and a grand reputation of excellence.
Unfortunately at the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century the vineyard faced complications. Indeed, the phylloxera crisis, followed by the two World Wars as well as the industrialization of the Rhône valley nearly eliminated the vines entirely.
When the attept to recover the vines began in the 1960s, one liter of Côte-Rôtie cost even less than one kilogram of apricot juice.
Luckily a new generation of winemakers arrived in the early 1970s with the will to revive the great prosperity of Côte Rôtie.
The courageous work done by these winemakers successfully salvaged the infrastructure and laid the foundation for Côte Rôtie’s highly-esteemed current standing. Today the appellation continues to grow and its wine is sold for prestigious costs all around the world.
Topography and climate
Côte-Rôtie has the finest terroir to cultivate Syrah grapes. It must also be remembered that a little touch of viognier can be included in the blend (maximum of 20%).
During the Middle-Age, a legend says that Lord Maugiron gifted his property in Côte Rôtie for the marriages of his two daughters–one of which was brown-haired and the other blond-haired. Today the plots known as Côte Brune and Côte Blonde are derived from this recount and remain the two main areas of his original vineyard. The soil of Côte Brune gives powerful essence to the wines, while the soil of Côte Blonde is known to produce elegant wines with more finesse.
The climate is similar as well to Condrieu’s, with Côte Rôtie’s vineyards perched on steep Southern-facing slopes that protect the vines from cold Northern winds. The soils producing the boldest wines are clay-based with decomposing schist and mica, primarily in the Northern parts leading to the center of the appellation. The Southern area leading towards the center is made of more sandy-granite soils producing more floral aromatics.
The grapes are harvested on the backs of grape-pickers who work on the sloping vineyards which are supported by terraced stone walls.
Rémi Niero’s wines of Côte-Rôtie include « Eminence » and « Vires de Serine », both of which come from two parcels comprised of over two hectares : La Viallière and Le Côteau de Bassenon.