Whites and Rosés Wines of Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages AOCs for the Summer

Louis Bernard Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2017 with wine in glass
Louis Bernard Cotes du Rhône Blanc 2017 with wine in glass

We are now enjoying nicer summer weather.  It’s time to get out onto the patio and enjoy some rosé and white wines. While you may think of Rhône wines as being Syrah or red blends, this region also produces white and rosé wines.  Here is a press release I received talking about these Rhône wines.


This summer, treat yourself to a true journey by enjoying the white and rosé wines of the Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages AOCs. Although red wines dominate, these appellations also offer lovely fruity rosés as well as excellent white wines, each with equally expressive and diverse profiles. Refreshing, elegant and even gastronomic, they are just as suited as an aperitif or to accompany a meal, and perfect for sunny days. Representing respectively 8% of the total production of the AOC Côtes du Rhône and 1%
of that of the AOC Côtes du Rhône Villages, the rosé wines of these appellations are divided into two distinct organoleptic profiles:

  • Rosés with a fruity and delicate profile, mainly made of Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan, surprise with their freshness and vivacity. Produced after an early harvest, followed by a direct pressing and a short period in inert vats before bottling, they are characterized by their pale or salmon colour. The bouquet reveals aromas of fresh fruits, such as citrus and exotic fruits, yellow fruits and sometimes even candy. Fresh and lively, they can also be recognized by their slightly saline mouthfeel. These rosés are ideal for aperitifs and add a touch of freshness to barbecues with friends.
  • Rosés with a fruity and full-bodied profile, recognizable by their more intense colour, are mainly made of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Mourvèdre. More rounded and balanced, their colour and structure are more pronounced due to a short maceration or a blend of macerated wine and directly pressed wine. The bouquet is characterized by aromas of ripe red fruits, enhanced by floral and spicy
    notes. Many are found in the Côtes du Rhône Villages with geographical appellation. Considered gastronomic wines, these rosés shine on all gourmet tables.

In a completely different universe, white wines account for 8% of AOC Côtes du Rhône and 5% of AOC Côtes du Rhône Villages productions respectively. They are divided into three distinct profiles:

  • The fresh and lively profile characterizes firstly the wines made from earlyharvested grapes. Made mainly from Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc and Piquepoul, these wines are vinified at low temperature in inert vats to preserve freshness and citrusy and white fruit notes. These whites distinguish themselves by their lovely acidity and freshness, making them perfect wines for aperitifs, summer salads, or even fish ceviche.
  • On the other hand, the fruity and round profile refers to wines made from grapes harvested at full maturity, and generally composed of Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Bourboulenc. These white wines are distinguished by their deeper colour and aromas of tropical and stone fruits, like peach and apricot. They are recognized by their roundness and pleasant bitterness on the finish. These balanced wines pair wonderfully with fish dishes, such as grilled halibut or seafood risotto, as well as
    poultry and cheese platters.
  • The rich and complex profile is perfectly tailored for cellaring and special occasions. Made from a blend of overripe grapes — Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Viognier, Carignan Blanc, Marsanne or Roussanne — they are typically aged longer in oak barrels or casks. Their perfect balance allows them to spend a few years in a cellar, where they will generally improve for 3 to 5 years, or even longer. With age, they develop a golden hue and notes of dried and and candied
    fruits. Their ample substance pairs well with lobster or poultry in sauce.

It’s the combination of multiple terroirs, microclimates, and a wide variety of grape varieties that allows the winemakers of the Côtes du Rhône to offer white and rosé wines with such a beautiful range of styles. Although they can be enjoyed throughout the year, the summer season is ideal for discovering them.

Our wine recommendations:

  • Esprit du Rhône, Côtes du Rhône, Réserve, 2023, White – available in private liquor stores
  • Esprit du Rhône, Côtes du Rhône, Réserve, 2022, Rosé – via private import and available in private liquor stores
Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.

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