Côte Rôtie is one of the greatest wine appellations in the northern Rhône Valley wine region. Most of the top-rated vineyards are located just south of the commune of Vienne, Saint-Cyr-sur-le-Rhône, Ampuis, and Tupin-et-Semons> The whole appellation area covers only 202 hectares.
The appellation gained its Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) status in 1940 and the name “Côte Rôtie” can be translated in English as "the roasted slope" and refers to the long hours of sunlight that these steep slopes receive. According to the appellation rules, the wines of Côte Rôtie are red and made of Syrah with up to 20% of Viognier, which is a white grape used for its aroma.
The Côte-Rôtie region has a continental climate with wet winters marked by the cold mistral winds that can last into the spring. The appellation is divided into two main parts due to their different soil compositions: the Côte Brune ("brown slope") in the north on dark, iron-rich schist and the Côte Blonde with its pale granite and schist soil. Côte Brune produces more structured, tannic, extracted wines to capitalize on the effect of the iron soils, and often without the addition of Viognier, and Côte Blonde are lighter, fruitier, more sumptuous and approachable wines. Some of the most prestigious vineyards in Côte-Rôtie include, La Turque, La Landonne, La Mouline and La Garde.
The quality of Côte-Rôtie is exceptional, and the demand for it has increased substantially resulting in higher prices, still, they remain some of the most sought after French wines.