Featured Appellation: Cotes du Rhone Villages
Côtes du Rhône is a massive wine region. In fact, it’s the second largest appellation in France. While the Côtes du Rhône has 5 appellations in total, the easiest way to look at the region is to divide it into two levels of quality, Côtes du Rhône Villages, which is a higher level of classification and Côtes du Rhône, which is less prestigious, as its terroir is not at the same level as the wines from Côtes du Rhône Villages.
Côtes du Rhône Villages is an appellation for red and white wines from certain villages of the Rhône region of France. All are in the southern half of the region, to the east and immediate west of the town of Orange. Wines made under the appellation must meet higher standards than those of the plain Côtes de Rhône title, and are from areas that show potential to produce distinctive wines of good quality.
The Côtes du Rhône Villages appellation was introduced in 1966 and now applies to 18 villages. Each of these villages may append its name to the standard AOC Côtes du Rhône Villages statement on its wine labels. If a wine is made from grapes grown in more than one of the villages, the only appellation it can bear is Côtes du Rhône Villages, without a village name.
Also contributing to their higher quality is the simple fact that they produce less wine than the general Côtes du Rhône appellation.
There are strict regulations governing the production of these wines, as with any AOC. These are to ensure consistency of style and quality, and are the same for all of the villages. The most obvious of these regulations relate to the grape varieties permitted for use and the quantities of each variety allowed in any given wine.
Côtes du Rhône Villages wines are widely accepted as providing a good balance of value and quality, unaffected as they are by the costly prestige associated with names such as Hermitage and Chateauneuf du Pape.
Featured Estate: Chateau du Trignon
Although there are countless Côtes du Rhône Village wines to mention, this week we would like to highlight the wine estate of Chateau du Trignon, which is named for the river that runs through its location between Gigondas and Sablet.
The estate was originally acquired in 1895 by Joseph Roux and run by his descendants until 2007, when Pascal Roux, who had kept the quality of the wine at the highest levels, sold the vineyard to another esteemed Rhône Valley winemaker, Jerome Quiot.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jerome Quiot at another one of his estates the year before this acquisition, and cannot speak highly enough of the gentleman, winemaker, and businessman that I found him to be. I arrived prepared to tour an incredibly successful international business operation and left feeling I had just visited a small family business where no attention to quality or detail is spared. Not only do I find the wine of Chateau du Trignon to be outstanding and of great value, but I also have great personal respect for the winemaker.
Sources: wine-searcher, rhône-wines.com, thewinecellarinsider.com, famillequiot.com, davidmilliganselections.com