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The wines of the Côtes du Rhone AOC appellation can be produced throughout the entire growing region, but the lion's share is produced in the southern section of the Rhone Valley. More than 90 per cent of all Côtes du Rhone are red, so it is no wonder that the rosés and especially the white wines are virtually unknown to many wine lovers.

Given the qualities, this is quite a pity. We were surprised ourselves by the results: Of the 99 samples we had on the table in the last few weeks, more than three quarters were at least very good; we did not come across any really weak wines at all. Even more than the rosés, which are almost always very pleasing, the best whites are able to convince even wine lovers with high expectations - and usually at extremely manageable prices. The best examples of both varieties have freshness, life and backbone with rather moderate acidity at the same time. They are therefore versatile and always prove to be excellent food companions.

The Côtes du Rhone Villages are potentially of a higher quality. Their area of origin is considerably smaller than that of the umbrella appellation (7,900 to 42,000 hectares), and the Villages are also subject to considerably higher requirements, for example in terms of yield limitation. In practice, however, qualitative differences between the two appellations are hardly discernible - at least as far as the wines presented to us are concerned. Our favourites come from both appellations.

Christophe Grilhé

Rhone In Focus Côtes du Rhone AOC blanc

Rhone In Focus Côtes du Rhone AOC rosé

Rhone In Focus Côtes du Rhone Villages AOC blanc