At this GOTN gathering we extended our adventure in the Rhone Valley by sampling the white varietals from this region. For red Cotes du Rhone, per the AOC, the primary grapes are either Grenache (Southern Rhone) or Syrah (Northern Rhone) which must be 40% or higher in the blend. For Cotes du Rhone Blancs the wine must contain 80% Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Bourboulenc and Viognier as the main grapes. Piqupoul and Ungi blanc are secondary wines that cannot exceed 20%. Cotes du Rhone Blancs allow only 8 varietals in comparison to Cotes du Rhone reds which allow 21 varietals.
As mentioned at the previous GOTN Cotes du Rhones have been around since 125 BC when the Romans built the town of Vienne. This is the oldest wine producing region according to archaeological findings. During these days the wines were transported and stored in clay or earthenware jugs known as amphorae. Since these pots were porous, the insides were coated with various kinds of resins as a sealer that was acquired from various trees. Studies of the various resins used showed no benefit in preserving the wine yet people still insisted on the wines coming from resin sealed amphorae to those without. This choice is believed to be the result of people liking the resin flavor addition to the wine. As an example, this is no different than one adding cream to their coffee.