The AOC of Côtes du Rhône encompasses the whole of the Rhône wine region, both north and south, with an area under vine of approx. 85,000 hectares. Côtes du Rhône wines can be red, white and rose, with the chief grapes for reds and rose being Grenache Noir, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Carignan, the whites use Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Picpoul and Bourbelenc. In some cases a proportion of white grapes are used in the red wines, to soften the wine’s structure.
In the north the climate is Continental, with very cold but short winters, and longer, hotter summers. In the south, where the bulk of CDR wines are made, the climate is more Mediterranean, with cool but not freezing winters, and longer, hotter summers.
The red wines are medium to full bodied, jammy, peppery and fruity at the lower commercial level, but some growers make a more full bodied, peppery style, more similar to the Northern Rhône Syrah-based wines. White wines tend to be dry & fruity with notes of white fruits, flowers and often, but not always, display a waxy, faintly honeyed note with good crisp acidity.