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The Crus of Côtes du Rhône Northern Rhône Valley appellations

Côte-Rôtie

Vineyards: these are spread over 3 communes on the right bank of the Rhône: Saint-Cyr-sur-Rhône, Ampuis and Tupin-Semons in the French Department of the Rhône.
Soil types: very steep granitic terraces covered with a layer of sand-lime on the "Côte blonde" (pale slopes) and clay and iron oxide on "Côte brune" (brown slopes).
Climate: moderate continental, dry and hot in the summer, regular rainfall during the other seasons.
Background: one of France's oldest vineyards, the Côte-Rôtie was greatly developed by the Romans and was consecrated Local A.O.C. in 1940.
News: a national Syrah conservatory has been set up to retain its genetic heritage. More than 650 clones will be studied over the next decade.
Area under cultivation*: 224 hectares, yearly production: 9548 hl, basic yield : 43 hl/hectare.
* Source: harvest statement 2004.
Grape Variety mix: at least 80% Syrah, with an authorised maximum of 20% Viognier
Pruning: long pruning for the Syrah (formed into a pyramid of 2 vine plants on 4 props).
Viognier pruning can involve a long stem called an “arçon”, with the other spurs being pruned to no more than 2 eyes.
Wine making: natural alcohol content by volume 10% minimum; fermentation: 2 to 3 weeks; matured in casks for 18months to three years.

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Condrieu

Vineyards: the Appellation extends over seven communes and three départements: the Rhône, the Loire and the Ardèche on the west bank of the Rhône.
Soils: steep granite slopes dominating the river, and preventing mechanisation.
Climate: moderate continental, dry and warm in summer, with regular rainfall in the other seasons.
History: Condrieu was where sailors were hired to navigate between the Holy Roman Empire (whose border was the east bank of the River Rhône) and the Kingdom of France – a trade handed down from father to son. Later, Condrieu became home to the coopers who made the measuring barrels used in the Côte-du-Rhône region. In the 15th century, Condrieu wine enhanced festive occasions and was offered as a gift to noble figures. Nowadays, the low-output sweet wines reveal subtle, aromatic treasures. Condrieu was awarded "A.O.C. Locale" status in 1940.
News: the Condrieu AOC has published a comprehensive map of its vineyards, with the appellation's boundary and all the lieux-dits (or locales) that form the riches of this Côtes du Rhône cru.
Area under production:* 124 ha. Annual output: 4,385 hl. Average yield: 35 hl/ha.
* Source: 2005 harvest certificate.
Varieties: Viognier only.
Pruning: a long cane with 8 eyes, spurs with 2 eyes maximum, single Guyot pruning.
Vinification: light crushing, pressing, minimal natural alcohol content of 11%, matured in oak casks or stainless-steel vats, with regular racking to eliminate must lees. Bottling: the famous yellow-glassed "Condrieu flute" is gradually being replaced by a conventional bottle.

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Château Grillet

Vineyards: these cover 2 communes in the French Department of the Loire, Saint-Michel sur Rh ône and Vérin, on the right bank of the river.
Soil types: granitic sand on steep terraces.
Climate: very hot summers, mild winters, regular rainfall.
Aspect: full South, very sunny, sheltered from the North winds.
Background: these vineyards have existed at least since Roman times. From the 17th and 18th Centuries the wine has been regularly mentioned in the diaries of travellers and wine lovers! Nowadays this small but renowned domain has one sole owner.
Château-Grillet was consecrated as a Local A.O.C. in 1936.
Area under cultivation*: 3,5 hectares, yearly production: 90 hl, basic yield : 26 hl/hectare.
* Source: harvest statement 2004.
Grape Variety mix: Exclusively Viognier.
Pruning: the vine is cut back to a “brochet”(an old bud from the previous year) leaving an “arçon” or “archet” (stem) of 6 to 7 eyes.
Wine making: natural alcohol content by volume 11% minimum.
Maturing: at least 2 years in oak casks.

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Saint-Joseph

Vineyards: these spread over approximately fifty kilometres of the right bank of the Rhône, from Chavanay in the North to Guilherand in the South, and include 26 communes, 23 of which are in the Ard èche, and 3 in the Loire.
Soil types: light soils of schist and gneiss on a granitic bedrock. South/South-east aspect.
Climate: moderate continental, hot dry summers with regular rainfall during the other seasons.
Background: delicate and delicious, this wine was being sold as early as the 16th century being enjoyed at the tables of the French Kings. It was given its present name in the 17th Century by the Jesuits of Tournon. In the years between 1956 and 1969, all the vineyards of this part of the C ôtes du Rhône were grouped together and were consecrated Local A.O.C. Saint-Joseph.
Area under cultivation*: 988 hectares, yearly production: 37349 hl, basic yield : 38 hl/hectare.
* Source: harvest statement 2004.
Grape Variety mix: Syrah for the red (with up to 10% Roussanne or Marsanne), Roussanne and Marsanne for the whites. Minimum density of Grape Variety mix: 4,500 vines per hectare.
Pruning: Syrah: goblet or fan pruning with a maximum of 6 spurs and 2 or 3 eyes, with a total of 15 eyes per vine (or Guyot pruning). Roussanne and Marsanne, goblet or fan pruning with a maximum of 6 spurs and 2 productive eyes.
Wine making: for the reds, minimum natural alcohol content by volume 10%; traditional long fermentation, maturing between 10 months to 2 years in chestnut or oak casks with regular racking.
For the whites, same natural alcoholic content, fermentation in open vats for 15 days, then matured for several months.

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Crozes-Hermitage

Vineyards: these are the largest of the Northern Appellation vineyards. They cover 11 communes on the right bank of the Rh ône, located in the Drôme.
Soil types: in the North, a continuation of the granite slopes of the Hermitage; in the South, glacio-fluvial alluviam with terraces bearing the rounded stones of the Rh ône, or of loess.
Climate: full southern aspect and subject to the Mistral.
Background: these vineyards are not as old as those of the Hermitage, and has only recently been developed in the South and which was previously used for fruit cultivation.
Crozes-Hermitage was consecrated Local A.O.C. in 1937.
News: an experimental area was created in order to carry out tests on the behaviour of the Syrah grape variety (support of grafts, improving methods of working with the vines) in order to better optimise the wines resulting from this grape variety.
Area under cultivation*: 1358 hectares, yearly production: 61022 hl, basic yield : 45 hl/hectare.
* Source: harvest statement 2004.
Grape Variety mix: Syrah for the red (possibly a maximum of 15% Marsanne or Roussanne), Marsanne et Roussanne for the whites.
Pruning: vines are pruned to two productive eyes, except for the Syrah, for which long pruning is permitted.
Wine making: for red and whites , natural alcohol content by volume 10% minimum.

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Hermitage

Vineyards: these are spread over 3 communes in the Drôme: Tain-l’Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage and Larnage on the right bank of the Rhône.
Soil types: comprised of granitic gravel covered with a layer of micaschist and gniess, with areas of round alluvial stones (this diversity accounts for the named villages within the Appellation: Bessards, Greffieux, M éal, Rocoule, Beaumes etc.).
Climate: sheltered from the North winds, lthe majority of the slopes have a Southern aspect providing lots of sunshine.
Background: legend recounts how the Knight of Sterimberg, weary of slaughter and fighting the Albigensians, repented and devoted himself to prayer and cultivating the vines that grew around a Hermitage that overlooked the village of Tain.
The Hermitage was consecrated a Local A.O.C. in 1937.
News: a geological teaching information map has been published showing the area covered by the Hermitage Appellation, and the various types of soil found there les diff érents types de soil types.
Area under cultivation*: 130 hectares, yearly production: 4783 hl, basic yield: 37 hl/hectare.
* Source: harvest statement 2004.
Grape Variety mix: Syrah for the red wines (15% Marsanne and Roussanne content is permitted), Roussanne and Marsanne for the white wines.
Pruning: long pruning for the Syrah The other varieties are pruned to two eyes plus a "bourillon" (first small fertile bud).
Wine making: natural alcohol content by volume, red 10.5% minimum, 11% for the whites.

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Cornas

Vineyards: the area covered by this Appellation is limited to the commune of Cornas in the French Department Ard èche, on the right bank of the Rhône.
Soil types: some silt laden deposits, granite and migmatite, extremely steep granitic terraces supported by small retaining walls.
Climate: very sunny with the slopes having South and South -east aspects.
Background: this wine's fame has not diminished since the 10th Century and has been served at the Royal tables of France and elsewhere.  In the 19th Century its "quoted" value was the same as Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  Only phylloxera followed by urbanisation were to almost get the better of it!  A.O.C. status and a renewal of its former high quality have enabled the vineyards to regain their flair and reputation.  Cornas was consecrated Local A.O.C. in 1938
Area under cultivation*: 102 hectares, yearly production: 3528 hl, basic yield
: 34 hl/hectare.
Grape Variety mix: exclusively Syrah.
Pruning: long stem Guyot with a minimum of 8 productive eyes, and one or 2 spurs with two productive eyes and goblet pruning.
Wine making: long fermentation, natural alcohol content by volume 10.5% minimum, maturing: 2 years in wooden casks.
Particularity: its Southern or South-eastern aspect give this Appellation early maturity.  It is the first of these Northern red Côtes du Rhône to be harvested .
The words to express it :
"The mountain on which this village stands is almost totally planted
with vines which produce a very good wine.  Its colour, body and
structure are impressive.
This is what you would call a virile wine”.
Curé Morin - 1763.
Source: harvest statement 2005.

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Saint-Péray

Vineyards: these are in two communes, Saint-Péray and Toulaud in the French Department of the Ardèche.
Soil types: granite bedrock overlaid with loam, loess and limestone shale.
Climate and relief: steep tortuous slopes flanking a deep valley result in a micro-climate which is slightly colder that the warmer continental climate of the surrounding region.
Background: although in existence since Roman times, vine cultivation did not come to pre-eminence in this region until the 15th Century. In 1825, a forward thinking winemaker imported a cellarman from Champagne into the region and in 1829, the first cork from the sparkling Saint-P éray wine was popped at the foot of the ancient Chateau of Crussol !
Saint-Péray and Saint-Péray Mousseux were consecrated A.O.C. Locales in 1936.
Area under cultivation*: 61 hectares, yearly production: 2501 hl, basic yield : 41 hl/hectare.
* Source: harvest statement 2004.
Grape Variety mix: for still or sparkling wines: Marsanne and / or Roussanne.
Pruning: short with 2 buds and 1 "bourillon", or small fertile bud.
Wine making: the sparkling wine undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle in the same way as champagne. Still wines have a short pressing and fermentation takes place partly in new casks and partly in stainless steel vats.
Natural alcohol content by volume, minimum 10% for still wines, 9% for the sparkling wines.

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