French Wine Tutor

The Complete Pronunciation Guide to Côtes-du-Rhône & Côtes-du-Rhône Villages

Created in Partnership with Côtes du Rhône & Côtes du Rhône Villages

The Rhône Valley is renowned the world over for its incredible blends of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. But while some appellations and crus get all the glory, some of the best buys in the GSM categories are humble Côtes-du-Rhône and their cousins, Côtes-du-Rhône Villages. Here’s how to pronounce some of the key terms and tasting notes associated with these delicious, affordable, high-quality wines from south-central France. 

  1. Rhône [ROHN]

The name of the region from which Côtes-du-Rhône hails. A beautiful place in southeastern France that spans from south of Lyon to the Mediterranean ocean.

  1. Côtes-du-Rhône [KOHT DYOO ROHN]

This is a category within Rhône Valley wines that represents accessible, high quality reds, whites, and rosés. 

  1. Le Mistral [LEU MEE-STRAL]

The Mistral is a legendary strong wind that blows through the Rhône Valley. Its cooling influence has a significant impact on grapes and their growth throughout the region.

  1. Syrah [SEE-RAH]

This famous red grape variety is native to the south of France and used in both red and rosé blends in the north and south of the Rhône Valley. It often adds notes of spice and savory to the wines. 

  1. Grenache [GRUH-NASH]

Grenache (also known as Garnacha in Spain, where it’s originally from) is one of the world’s most popular red grape varieties, particularly popular in the south of France due to its resistance to drought and heat. It’s a key variety for the production of Côtes-du-Rhône and often makes the perfect blend with partners Syrah and Mourvèdre.

  1. Mourvèdre [MOR-VEDRUH]

Like its blending partner Grenache, Mourvèdre originated in Spain, where it’s known as Monastrell. It’s a popular grape variety to use in Côtes-du-Rhône red and rosé blends, where it often adds tannin and beautiful complex color to the wines. 

  1. Ardèche [AR-DEHSH]

Ardèche is a subregion of the Rhône Valley where Côtes-du-Rhône is produced, located on the western side of the Rhône river. It is home to one special village that can add its name to the Côtes-du-Rhône Villages label. 

  1. Saint-Andéol [SAENT-AW-DAY-OHL]

The only current named village within Ardèche that can add its village name to the label, denoting fantastic quality. It is one of the most recent villages that earned the right to do this – only six years ago in 2017! 

  1. Gard [GAR]

Another subregion of the Rhône Valley where Côtes-du-Rhône is produced. It is home to four named villages that can be added to the label. 

  1. Laudun [LOH-DAW]

A named Côtes-du-Rhône Village in the Gard region. Laudun is unique in the Côtes-du-Rhône Villages category in that its white wines are some of the best in the region, known for their freshness and acidity. 

  1. Vaucluse [VOH-KLOOZ]

This subregion from within Côtes-du-Rhône has 10 named villages that can add their name to the label – the most of any other subregion.

  1. Séguret [SAY-GYER-AY]

One of the oldest Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, Séguret became one of CDR’s named villages in Vaucluse in 1967. 

  1. Drôme [DROHM]

The final major subregion, home to six Côtes-du-Rhône Village appellations. Easy to remember – it rhymes with Rhône and is pronounced very similarly!

  1. Rousset-les-Vignes [ROO-SAY LAY VINYUH]

One of the northernmost village appellations, Rousset-les-Vignes is located on the top of a mountain massif. 

  1. Santé ! [SAWNTAY]

Literally meaning “To your health!” this is used in the place of “Cheers!” in traditional French. 

The key to pronunciation, no matter the language, is practice. Keep playing and reading through the above and you’ll be a pro at the Rhône in no time! A glass of Côtes-du-Rhône while you’re working certainly doesn’t hurt, either. Santé !

This blog post has been generously sponsored by Côtes du Rhône & Côtes du Rhône Villages. All thoughts and opinions shared here are uniquely my own. Thank you for supporting French Wine Tutor! Looking for more pronunciation guides? Check out my Complete Pronunciation Guide to Provence or check out more wines on the blog.


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