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.


Technical Information

OVERVIEW

Winemaker: René Rostaing

René Rostaing has, since 1991, emerged as one of the Northern Rhône’s most respected growers. Before turning to winemaking full-time, Rostaing split his time between real estate and his small winery.

Between 1991 and 1995, he assumed the vineyards of his uncle, the legendary Marius Gentaz, and his father-in-law, Albert Dervieux. From these two traditionalist titans, he also learned to value the noble qualities of classic Côte Rôtie.

ADDITIONAL WINEMAKING NOTES

Apart from Guigal, Rostaing may have the finest vineyard holdings in Côte Rôtie. He works 20+ ha, in 44 lieux-dits, including 1.6 ha in La Landonne, 1.2 ha in La Viallière 1.0 ha in Côte Blonde, and 0.3 ha in Côte Brune. A majority of the vines were planted in the 1960s and 1970s, but some of the Viallière vines exceed 100 years old!

In addition, he has a choice 1.0 ha in Condrieu, and works a 10 ha site in the Côteaux du Languedoc.

Rostaing adapts his methods to the vintage. Grapes are hand-harvested, and are generally not destemmed. Maceration can vary from 7-20 days. All the Côte Rôties are aged in a mix of 225 and 500 liter barrels (about 7% new). The Condrieu is fermented and aged in stainless steel.

THE WINES

  Fruit Source Grapes Avg. Yield Avg. Production

Côte Rôtie “Ampodium” (formerly “Classique”)

Vineyards from throughout the appellation.

100% Syrah

35 hL/hA

1,800 cases

Côte Rôtie “La Landonne”

3 parcels of vines 20-70+ years in age.

100% Syrah

30 hL/hA

800 cases

Côte Rôtie “Côte Blonde”

2 parcels of 40+ year-old vines.

98% Syrah, 2% Viognier

30 hL/hA

450 cases

Côte Rôtie “Côte Brune”

the replanted parcel inherited from Marius Gentaz.

100% Syrah

30 hL/hA

100 cases

Condrieu “La Bonnette”

0.6 ha Côte Bonnette, 0.4 ha Ste-Agathe

100% Viognier

35 hL/hA

400 cases

“Les Lézardes” Syrah & Viognier

Various parcels from the northern edge of Côte Rôtie and Condrieu (respectively).

100% Syrah or 100% Viognier

35 hL/hA

600 cases

Côteaux du Languedoc “Puech Noble”

Cool vineyard site on limestone cobbles near Nîmes.

70% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre & 15% Grenache

25 hL/hA

2,000 cases

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