September 14, 2023 by
Maytte Rivera

Côtes, meaning “slopes” in French, refers to vineyards that are located on hillsides. Vineyards planted on slopes tend to have better water drainage than the ones planted on flat areas, preventing standing water from affecting root growth.  Planting vineyards on hillsides also helps prevent frost, since cold air drops to areas of lower elevation while warm air rises.  Additionally, if the slopes are facing the equator, they benefit from additional sun exposure to help grapes ripen fully.

The Côte d’Or, or “slopes of gold”, located in Burgundy, is one of the most famous wine producing regions of the world.  It is divided into two areas: Côtes de Nuits to the north (named after the village of Nuits Saint-Georges) and Côtes de Beaune to the south (named after the village of Beaune).  Here you will Joseph Drouhin Côte de Beaune, regarded for elegant Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.  Another famous Côte is found in the Rhône River valley, where iconic winery Paul Jaboulet produces white, red, and rosé from their Côtes du Rhône vineyards. 

In Italy, the word “poggio” is used in a similar sense.  Castello Banfi produces a Brunello di Montalcino “Poggio all’Oro”, also translated as “slopes of gold”, from vineyards planted on the hills around its famous castle.

Author: Maytte Rivera

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