Côtes du Rhône Villages: What’s in a Name?




France’s Côtes du Rhône wines make almost half of the Rhône Valley wine production. The next-largest appellation, “Côtes du Rhône Villages”, comes from a smaller number of villages that have to adhere to stricter production standards. This is where you find the most terroir-centric production in the region and some of its best-kept secrets in all 3 colors: red, white and rosé.

What attendees will learn:

  • Understanding the Côtes du Rhône wines hierarchy
  • Knowing the characteristics of some of the “named villages” that are distributed in the US
  • Tips to pick and buy in the Rhône category
  • Inside information about how the vineyards and the practices have evolved these past 20 years
  • Insider tips on how to buy in the Rhône category

Host: Anna Lee Iijima

Contributing Editor, Wine Enthusiast

Reviews wines from Germany, Burgundy and the Rhône Valley. Iijima joined Wine Enthusiast in 2010 following a career in corporate law. She holds a Diploma in Wine and Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is a student in the Masters of Wine Program. She also holds a certification in Viticulture and Vinification from the American Sommelier Association and is a Certified Sake Professional of the Sake Education Council. Her passion for Japanese sake and shōchū often rivals her devotion to wine.

Panelist: Christophe Tassan

Wine Director, The Battery, San Francisco

Born in Avignon in 1962, he began his sommelier career at l’Auberge de France, a three-generational family-owned local gem restaurant. Growing up on the banks of the Rhône River, he felt blessed to experience the unique landscape that gives birth to the Rhône Valley wines. His education began while tasting in the cellars of local vintners; studying and graduating at Avignon’s restaurant school and the Rhone Valley Wine university. He won 2nd Best young French sommelier (1988), Best sommelier “South of France” (1992), Master sommelier UDSF (2000), and MOF Sommelier -Meilleur Ouvrier de France (2004) . After the restaurant was sold he traveled the world to teach about wines and wine service. He was the wine director for George Perrier at the legendary “Le Bec Fin” (2005), “Mix” by Alain Ducasse (2008) and MGM’s Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino (2010). Since 2013 he shares his wine passion and expertise with The Battery members, and Birch Family’s Estate “Moon Hollow” in Sonoma.

Panelist: Florence Quiot

Owner and Winemaker, Château du Trignon

Florence Quiot was born and raised in the Rhône Valley, she is the 13th generation of winemakers. The family owns multiple wineries including Domaine du Vieux Lazaret and Château du Trignon in the Rhône Valley as well as other estates in Provence & Rhône Valley. Florence has a Master in Wine business and runs all Famille Quiot properties. She is also very involved in the trade organizations of the Rhône Valley wine industry. Deeply committed to the terroirs of her lands and finding innovative and customized ways for her wineries to continue growing sustainably for the long term, she has a passion for beekeeping and agriculture in isolated low altitude mountains. She loves to spend her free time in nature with her bees and her dogs trained in search of truffles.

Panelist: Jean-Etienne Alary

Owner and Winemaker, Domaine Alary

Jean-Etienne Alary was born and raised in the village of Cairanne in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône. He is the 11th generation of winemakers for the Alary family. After working and winemaking in New-Zealand, in Australia and in Burgundy, Jean-Etienne joined his father at the family estate in 2016. Passionate and open-minded, Jean-Etienne wants to preserve the traditions of his estate, being the recipient of a legacy as well as moving it forward thanks to his oenology studies and experiences abroad.