Domaine Christophe Billon

Ampuis | Rhône Valley

At the very top of the hill overlooking the northern Rhône town of Ampuis, you’ll find the humble yet rising-star estate of Christophe Billon.

Since 1991, Christophe has crafted honest, authentic Syrah wines from the steep, terraced slopes of Côte-Rôtie. His family’s roots here go back generations; the family’s oldest parcel of vines can trace its origins back to the end of the second world war. 

Truly a working winemaker, Christophe for years balanced the demands of his job at Guigal with his own domaine, finally dedicating himself completely to the family project in 2007. His son, Corentin, after finishing his wine studies in 2015, now works at his father’s side.

The family crafts three Côte-Rôtie cuvées, each generously structured and stunningly pure, and each a faithful representation of the power and purity of these “roasted slopes.”

Found on the ‘Brune’ side of Ampuis, the family’s ‘Côte Rozier’ and ‘La Brocarde’ cuvées are classic Syrah wines, structured and stately, made for the long haul. ‘Rozier,’ neighboring the legendary plot ‘La Landonne,’ claims the estate’s oldest vines, planted by Christophe’s grandfather, Xavier. ‘La Brocarde,’ next to the classic ‘Côte Brune’ vineyard, delivers a more extroverted cuvée, with heady minerals, bright red fruit and refined tannins.

The family combines the harvest of four separate parcels for ‘Les Elotins,’ a delightfully fruited and balanced Côte-Rôtie wine. Here the intensity of classic ‘Brune’ soils is married with a floral nuance, characteristic of the ‘Blonde’ side of Côte-Rôtie – the best of all worlds.

FARMING & WINEMAKING

The family tends some 25 acres in and around the central Côte-Rôtie village of Ampuis.

The heart of Côte Rôtie can be broadly separated by terroir into two sides: the ‘Brune’ and the ‘Blonde.’ The ‘Brune’ side, encompassing most of the north of the appellation, is dominated by dark, blue-black schist soils, with some mica. ‘Brune’ wines tend to be more tannic and structured. The ‘Blonde’ side, to the south, has looser granite soils with quartz and mica, and wines that are often more floral and red fruited, with finer-grained tannins.

Estate vineyard holdings on the ‘Brune’ side of the appellation include plots in ‘Côte Rozier,’ one of which was planted in 1942; ‘La Brocarde,’ ‘Les Moutonnes’ and ‘Côte Baudin.’ Plots on the ‘Blonde’ hillsides include ‘Le Goutay’ and ‘Combard.’ The estate also crafts, in limited quantities, a Condrieu wine and a vin de pays Collines Rhodaniennes.

Vines are cared for sustainably, and most work is performed by hand, given the steeply graded, terraced hillsides of many vineyard parcels.

Grapes are harvested by hand, and are either partially or fully destemmed, depending on the cuvée. Fermentation happens in temperature-controlled tanks on indigenous yeasts. Malolactic conversion is allowed in barrel; reds are aged in French oak cask or barrel. Wines are lightly filtered.

RED WINES

Côte Rôtie ‘Les Elotins’

A selection of fruit from four separate parcels, representing equally the two terroir “sides” of Côte-Rôtie, ‘Les Elotins’ is a floral beauty, dense and refined, beautiful today yet also structured for the long haul. 

 

  • Download fact sheet (PDF)

 

 

Côte Rôtie ‘La Brocarde’

‘La Brocarde,’ neighboring the famed ‘Côte Brune,’ to the northwest of Ampuis, is a more extroverted Côte-Rôtie cuvée, with heady minerals, bright red fruit and refined tannins.

 

  • Download fact sheet (PDF)

 

Côte Rôtie ‘Côte Rozier’

‘Côte Rozier’ is a classic, pure Syrah wine, structured and stately, made for the long haul. ‘Côte Rozier,’ which neighbors ‘La Landonne,’ claims the estate’s oldest vines, planted in 1942 by Christophe’s grandfather, Xavier.

 

  • Download fact sheet (PDF)

 

Established: 1991
Winemaker: Christophe Billon
Region: France • Rhône Valley • Ampuis
Vineyard size: 25 acres

PRACTICING SUSTAINABLE FARMING

Domaine Christophe Billon Cote Rotie