Geology of the Côte-Rôtie

Regional geology

The vineyard sits atop the eastern edge of the massif central. This massif was formed during the Hercynian Orogeny some 300-350 million years ago. The main rocks were crystalline formations: magmatic-plutonic rocks (granite) and metamorphic rocks (schist, gneiss, composite gneiss).

Following the formation of the massif central and at the same time as the Alps were forming to the east (during the Tertiary era), the Rhone Valley was formed as fault lines running north to south collapsed.

At the end of the Tertiary era, and the beginning of the Quaternary, the erosion of the Alps led to an accumulation of mainly quartzite pebbles, which when cemented and consolidated would form the thick Bonnevaux-L'Amballan formation, ribbons of which can be found on the highest Côte-Rôtie hillsides.

The most recent deposits date from the Quaternary era. These belong to autogenic formations (loess and silt) and other fluvial formations on the hillside terraces, dozens of metres above the current level of the Rhone.

Côte-Rôtie AOC

In general, almost all of the vines in the Côte-Rôtie AOC are planted on metamorphic rocks:
• Mica schist in Saint-Cyr-sur-le-Rhône and Northern and Central Ampuis.
• Leucogneiss South of Ampuis and Northern and Central Tupin.
• Dark composite gneiss in parts of Tupin.

Scattered around the vineyard in smaller concentrations are the following:

Augen gneiss.
Bonnevaux-L'Amballan formations.
Muscovite granite.
Ancient Rhone alluvia.

From a report by Céline Beaucamp and Lolita Gilles,
supervised by Dominique Gasquet, Pierre Faivre and André Payet
(October 2006, Université de Savoie).


Learn more about the metamorphic rock of the Côte-Rôtie AOC

Outings among the vines
Outings among the vines