The Côtes du Rhône Appellation
The Côtes du Rhône appellation (AOC) is constructed around a four-level hierarchy of quality reflecting the fact that certain sub-regions within the Rhône produce better quality grapes, and thus wine.
First level / generic wines are labelled AOC Côtes du Rhône and all the grapes must be grown in the area shaded in light grey on the map (click here). Whilst diverse in flavour, Côtes du Rhônes are typically fruity and easy drinking and generally best appreciated within two to four years of their vintage date.
As you climb the AOC levels, the wines become more concentrated, complex and age-worthy.
Second level wines are labelled AOC Côtes du Rhône Villages and must be grown in any of 74 communes (not marked on the map) within the Côtes du Rhône area.
Third level wines are labelled AOC Côtes du Rhône Villages with the area name and must be grown in one of the 21 communes marked with a red circle on the map (click here). For example, AOC Côtes du Rhône Villages Sablet, AOC Côtes du Rhône Villages Séguret, etc.
Top level wines are referred to as the “Crus” and are labelled AOC + area name and must be grown in one of the 17 communes marked in bold on the map (click here). For example, AOC Gigondas, AOC Châteauneuf-du-Pape, AOC Condrieu, etc.
Note: The word “cru” is not normally mentioned on Rhône wine labels.
Cru Beaumes de Venise
Crus Northern Rhône
Côtes du Rhône Villages (Named)