Éric Texier > The Wines > Northern Rhône > Côte Rôtie Vieilles Vignes

Cote-Rotie Label

Côte Rôtie Vieilles Vignes
Côte Rôtie has a long and illustrious history with numerous enthusiasts worldwide. In the eighteenth century, Thomas Jefferson visited Côte Rôtie while he was America's ambassador to France and described the wine region as "a string of broken hills extending a league on the river from the village of Ampuis to the town of Condrieu." Jefferson had become an expert on wine after traveling to all of the major wine regions within France, Italy and Germany to taste, discuss and buy wine. And his personal pleasure in wine was clear: "Good wine is a daily necessity for me," he wrote. During his visit Jefferson purchased Côte Rôtie, having it bottled and put in wooden cases for shipment to his home in Paris. And in 1787 he wrote about his Côte Rôtie wines: "There is a quality which keeps well, bears transportation and that cannot be drunk under four years."

-100% Syrah  (A.O.C allows up to 20% Viognier)
-Harvest is usually mid September
-A.O.C. Established 18 October 1940 with 205 HA in production today

-Vines are 40 to 70 years old
-Extremely steep terrain with numerous terraces
-Soil composition of gneiss and shist

Vintage Notes


Wines  Éric's Côte Rôtie is a rich and velvety wine reminiscent of the elegance found in Burgundian Pinot Noir. A perfumed and intense nose of cassis and smoky bacon fat with hints of violet combined with the crisp acidity and fine tannins build a complex and perfectly balanced palate for this sensational wine. You can easily expect Éric's Côte Rôtie to age gracefully from 10 to 20 years.


Vineyards There are several southeasterly facing vineyards on the steep slopes of the Côte Brune that are blended to produce Éric's Côte Rôtie Vieilles Vignes. Most of the vineyards are terraced and planted in a manner unique to Côte Rôtie - three vines trained on a Guyot system of large stakes making a pyramid like structure called cheys. The vineyards are all planted with 100% Syrah and average between 40 to 70 years old. With slopes of up to 55% the vineyard demands manual work, which includes harvesting with small baskets that are carried by hand up the steep vineyard slope to the road above where the trucks quickly take them on to the winery.

Terroir  Located about 37 KM south of Lyon, Côte Rôtie is located on the high hills above the Rhône River. The Rhône, over the course of millions of years, cut a narrow valley through this region so the sides of the valley are extremely steep with relatively flat tops. The vineyards of Côte Rôtie are almost all terraced with the distinct Roman terraces that snake horizontally (and sometimes vertically) across the hillside.

The Côte Rôtie is divided into two primary regions: Côte Blonde and Côte Brune. Local legend is that the names originate from when Lord Maugiron bequeathed his land to each his two daughters. The southern slope was given to his daughter with the golden blond hair and the northern slope went to his other daughter with the dark brown hair. Éric's Côte Rôtie Vieilles Vignes comes exclusively from the Côte Brune where the soil is a combination of iron mica schist (a metamorphosed shale), decomposed gneiss (a metamorphic banded granite) and arzelle. Wines made from the Côte Brune are generally thought to age much longer than those from Côte Blonde.

The southeasterly facing slopes are perfect for absorbing the maximum daily sunlight and are generally protected from le mistral because of a turn in the Rhône. Summers are hot and dry in the Northern Rhône, while winters are cold though snow is rare.

History Côte Rôtie, which translates to "roasted slope", is an ancient wine region. It is not know when vines where first cultivated but in 71 A.D. the area of Côte Rôtie was referenced by Pliny the Elder in Book 14 of his Natural History. (The full set was most recently translated by H. Rachman in his 1945 edition.) Pliny discussed the wines of Vienne being grown on the steep, terraced slopes of Côte Rôtie and being exported to lands as far away as Rome and Britain. Vienne, merely 6 km north of Côte Rôtie, has numerous Roman ruins including a still standing temple dedicated to Livia and Augustus as well as an internationally known summer Jazz festival.

The combination of the late 1800s phylloxera epidemic, two world wars, the great depression and extremely steep slopes that demand manual work caused the Côte Rôtie to steadily decline. In the mid 1900s, it was easier and higher paying to grow other fruits on the steep slopes so by the early 1970's there were only 50 HA in production. Thankfully the situation turned around with growing interest in fine wine and a lucrative export market and today Côte Rôtie has over 205 HA in production and many world wide devotees.


Côte Rôtie Vieilles Vignes 2001

2001 began with a mild winter that was followed by a warm and wet spring. Flowering started towards the end of May. August was hot and dry with temperatures reaching 33°C and September brought sporadic rain. Harvest commenced at the beginning of October.

The chewy 2001 Côte Rôtie Vieilles Vignes will drink well young but also age very well with its round tannins.


Blend: 100% Syrah (Less than 1% Viognier)
Alcohol: 12.5% by volume


Suggested Aging: 2 to 20 years
Cases Produced: 315


Côte Rôtie Vieilles Vignes 2000

2000 produced a very abundant crop. In the end of September, we harvested under sunny skies. We kept only 8 barrels out of 22 produced in order to bottle a Côte Rôtie up to our standards.

The 2000 Côte Rôtie Vieilles Vignes will need time to show the best of its origins.


Blend: 100% Syrah (Less than 1% Viognier)
Alcohol: 12.5% by volume


Suggested Aging: 3 to 12 years
Cases Produced: 200


Côte Rôtie Vieilles Vignes 1999

A hailstorm in June and a perfect weather in september made a small and very ripe crop. Harvest commenced on September 15th with the Syrah from the Monlys section, located on the north-eastern section of the A.O.C, picked at 26 brix.

The 1999 Côte Rôtie Vieilles Vignes has the structure to age up to 15 years, yet its ripe fruit makes it easy to drink now.


Blend: 100% Syrah (Less than 1% Viognier)
Alcohol: 12.5% by volume


Suggested Aging: 2 to 15 years
Cases Produced: 315


© 2003 Éric Texier