The two wine appellations of the Vienne Condrieu Agglomeration region, Côte-Rôtie (in red) and Condrieu (in white) are the northernmost appellations of the Rhône Valley and stand on the right bank of the Rhône. On the left bank of the Rhône, opposite these prestigious hillsides, the Vitis Vienna vineyard extends over the communes of Seyssuel, Chasse-sur-Rhône and Vienne.
From local wine to the most exceptional vintage, the wines of the Northern Rhône Valley are worked with passion by families of winegrowers, sometimes established for several generations. The steep hillsides mark the landscape and offer breathtaking views.
AOC Condrieu: pure gold
The Condrieu appellation vineyard is located in the Rhône Valley, about 40 km south of Lyon, and 10 km from Vienne. The vines grow on the right bank of the Rhône, on the steep hillsides at the foot of the Pilat massif. The slope is so steep, often more than 50%, that only terrace cultivation is possible. The only authorised grape variety is golden viognier. The right bank of the Rhône Valley, at this point, is characterised by the presence of extremely contrasted relief. The vineyard has taken up residence on the very steep slopes that provide the transition between the valley floor and “Plateau de Pélussin”. The vines cling to the granitic bedrock thanks to numerous narrow terraces (locally called “chaillets”) that require constant care. Condrieu has been an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée since 1940.
A few items to help understand the vineyards
- Colour: White
- Grape variety: Viognier
- AOC area: 260 ha
- Production area: about 170 ha
- Towns: Condrieu, St Michel sur Rhône, Vérin, Chavanay, St Pierre de Bœuf, Malleval, Limony
- Departments: Rhône, Loire, Ardèche
- Soil: decomposed granites
- Special features: terraced vineyards, south/south-east orientation
- Altitude: 250 m approx
- Maximum allowable yield: 41 hl/ha
- Average annual production: 6000 hl
AOC Côte-Rôtie: an iconic vineyard
Sculpted by man for more than 2000 years, the landscape of Côte-Rôtie is spectacular. The slopes are up to 60%! To support the earth, men built stone walls called “cheys”. Some of them date back to Roman times. Today, these extreme reliefs are still a challenge for winemakers. Pruning, terrace maintenance, trellising, manual harvesting… Imagine the complexity of the job! Here, better than anywhere else, you understand the effort, the patience, the taste for requirements of the wine growers. If they devote themselves to these vertiginous micro-terroirs, it’s because they contain all the finesse and elegance of Côte-Rôtie wines. Latin and Greek authors already spoke of this wine, and over the centuries, its reputation has continued to grow. In 71BC, the naturalist Pliny the Elder mentions the quality of “Vienne wine”. The agronomist Columella, the poet Martial and historian Plutarch also celebrated the wine of Côte-Rôtie. And the build-up of this vineyard continued over two millennia…
A few items to help understand the vineyard
- Colour: red
- Grape variety: Syrah mainly and Viognier (20% maximum)
- AOC area: 280 ha
- Production area: about 280 ha
- Towns: Ampuis, Saint-Cyr-sur-le-Rhône and Tupin-et-Semons
- Departments: Rhône
- Soil: shale
- Altitude: between 140 and 320 m approximately, with slopes up to 60%
- Maximum authorised yield: 40 hl/ha
- Number of bottles produced per year: approximately 1.2 million.
Annual gathering: Ampuis wine market, the weekend of January closest to Saint-Vincent’s day
A vineyard being reborn in the Northern Rhône Valley
The Vitis Vienna vineyard is located in three towns along the Rhône River: Vienne, Seyssuel and Chasse-sur-Rhône. As in the Northern Rhône Valley, the winegrowers plant Syrah for red wines and Viognier for white, two grape varieties native to this region that express their full aromatic potential here. Its prestigious history is correlated with that of Vienne la Pulchra, whose origins date back to antiquity. Currently in the process of obtaining the AOC, the association of Vitis Vienna winegrowers regularly organises tastings and events, including the Pressailles, every first weekend in November.
A “terroir” full of heritage
The origin of the Vitis Vienna vineyard dates back to Roman times. Vienne was then the capital of the Allobroges and produced wines whose reputation already stretched beyond its borders. The wines of these regions are praised by several ancient authors: Plutarch, Pliny the Elder, Martial, Columella, Celsus, all attesting to real historical anchorage. In the 19th century, the vineyards covered a surface area of a hundred hectares in Seyssuel.
At that time, this vineyard was “the main source of income for the commune” (municipal register, 1883). While it was then ravaged by phylloxera, it owes its rebirth to a group of winegrowers who, through their work and their passion, have rebuilt it and since then produced wines of very high quality.
Focus on: the Vignobles et Découvertes label
Since 2013, the “Vallée du Rhône – Condrieu – Côte-Rôtie” region has been one of the French destinations labelled “Vignobles & Découvertes“, a collective mark awarded by the Ministries of Agriculture and Tourism. The purpose of the label is to promote wine tourism and guarantee quality services for visitors. The network is made up of accommodation providers, restaurant owners, wine tasting cellars, event organisers and tourist sites. All these players work together so that visitors can discover the vineyards and to offer original tours and activities (Roman-style wine tasting at the Saint-Romain-en-Gal Museum, rides in the vineyards on gyropods, etc.).
Through a vast selection of experiences to be enjoyed in the heart of its steep hillsides or in the cellars of its passionate winegrowers, Condrieu – Côte-Rôtie – also home to the Saint-Joseph appellation – is deeply involved in this wine tourism approach.
The Fascinating Weekend Vignobles & Découvertes
This event, which takes place every year in October, aims to highlight the actions of the label to the general public during a weekend, through more than 200 original activities open to all, on the theme of wine and vines (food and wine pairing evenings, concerts, special tastings, gourmet walks through the hillsides…).