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Cote Roannaise Wine
Cote Roannaise is the appellation for red and rosé wines from 14 communes which lie just west of Roanne, in the Rhone-Alpes administrative region of France. The wines are light in body, low in tannin and very much reliant on their fresh, vibrant fruit flavors. They bear all the hallmarks of classic Gamay vinified through carbonic maceration, and the majority are best consumed within a few years of vintage.
The Cote Roannaise appellation was first created as a VDQS in 1955 and was promoted to full AOC status in February 1994. About 445 acres (180ha) of vines (all Gamay) are devoted to Cotes Roannaise wines, producing just under 8285hL of wine each year. One in six bottles is rosé, with the remaining proportion taken up entirely by red wines.
Although predominantly a land of sandy, granitic soils, the terroir here is spiced up by the presence of volcanic soils rich in basalt; many Cotes Roannais cuvees bear names that evoke this landscape. The climate is decidedly continental, and characterized by unpredictable weather patterns and high diurnal temperature variation.
Cote Roannaise wines, like those of the Cotes du Forez just to the south, suffer from something of an identity crisis; the outside world can’t quite decide which wine region they belong to. The vineyards are located along the upper reaches of the Loire river, but fall inside the Rhone-Alpes administrative region; they grow Gamay – best known as the grape of Beaujolais, less than 50 miles (80km) to the north-east. This makes the Cotes Roannaise very hard to pigeon-hole as part of a recognized wine region. (courtesy of Wine Searcher)