What constitutes a “humble” wine? The question occurred to me recently after I read—for the umpteenth time—a reference to a “humble” Côtes du Rhône wine. Is it because Côtes du Rhônes are affordable and often made in large quantities that they are saddled with this sad adjective? Whatever the reason, humble isn’t the word I’d use to describe some of the 14 reds and whites I tasted recently, all from the excellent 2020 vintage.
While the name Côtes du Rhône seems to suggest one wine or wine type, there is a wide range of Côtes du Rhône wines—in terms of style, color and geographic location. Côtes du Rhône communes (designated regions) are scattered all over the Rhône Valley, some very close to famous regions like Cornas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.