NORTHERN RHONE

René Rostaing

Represented exclusively in the U.S. and California by The Rare Wine Co.

Not counting the much larger Guigal domaine, René Rostaing has, along with Jamet, emerged as the cult producer in Côte Rôtie. A grower since 1971, Rostaing’s first vineyard purchases were a microscopic half acre each in Côte Blonde and in La Landonne on the Côte Brune.

The real breakthrough, however, came when his father-in-law, Albert Dervieux-Thaize retired in 1990, followed by his uncle Marius Gentaz-Dervieux three years later. Between these two legendary growers, Rostaing acquired over ten acres of very old vines in some of the appellation’s top sites. The vineyard expansion also enabled René to quit his day job in 1991, and to devote himself full time to winemaking.

Good, Better, Best

Today, Rostaing can boast 20+ acres of the finest vineyards in and around Côte Rôtie. The wealth of vineyard holdings results in an astonishing array of wines. From several parcels of old vines immediately adjoining Côte Rôtie and Condrieu, Rostaing produces a gorgeous Vins de Pays white and red called Les Lezardes.

In Condrieu, he holds a tiny parcel in Côte Bonnette that yields some of the region’s most refined Viognier. Most of his Côte Rôtie parcels are blended to produce “Ampodium” (fka “Classique”), a terrific expression of the appellation. And, of course, there are his two prized Côte-Rôtie special cuvées, La Landonne and Côte Blonde.

And, with the 2013 vintage, one of the Northern Rhone’s great vineyards will return when Rostaing releases his first wine from the Côte Brune lieu-dit.

This parcel from Marius Gentaz was the basis of some of the greatest wines ever made in Côte-Rôtie. Sadly, the old vines were in desperate shape when Rene inherited them, and he made the hard choice to replant the site. For over 15 years, the fruit has been used in Rene’s “Ampodium” (aka “Classique”) but he now believes that the site’s vines, pushing 20 years of age, are again ready to stand alone.

The Standard Bearer

Rostaing is a beacon for Côte Rôtie’s “Classicists”—those whose winemaking is deeply rooted in tradition while incorporating new thinking. In the cellar, he employs roto-fermenters, but only so he can break up the must himself, not to shorten macerations. Today, his Côte Rôtie barrels are only 10-15% new.

He prizes mature fruit, but rails against some of his neighbor’s overripe, “Australian” wines. In other words, this is the best of classic Côte Rôtie—brought into the modern age, but true to its origins. And, with his son Pierre now assuming day-to-day control, the future for this estate looks brighter still.

Puech Noble

In the late 1990s, René and his wife purchased a property in the Côteaux du Languedoc near Nîmes. The estate, originally named Puech Chaud, is now known as Puech Noble. Located in a relatively cool micro-climate, Puech Noble gave the Rostaings a chance to produce Syrah on the limestone soils so beloved by many French growers. Bolstered with small amounts of Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Rolle, Puech Noble is now producing one of the South’s most beautiful wines.

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