Syrah that is grown on the steeply terraced vineyards of Cote-Rotie yields perfumed, seductive, sappy wines that typically show notes of raspberry, violet, black pepper, bacon fat, smoked meat, and spices. Modern producers tend to age a good percentage of their wines in barriques (the small 225-liter barrels routinely used in Bordeaux and Burgundy)--often including a high percentage of new oak--but some traditionalists use older and frequently much larger barrels customary to this region within the Rhone. In style, Cote-Rotie wine is usually more delicate and scented, like Burgundy, than the brooding, slower-to-unfold Hermitage. Producers in Cote-Rotie are legally entitled to add up to 20% Viognier to their blends (this variety can add aromatic lift and perfume), but few use more than 5%, for fear of compromising the ageability of their wines.
Cote-Roties are normally at their best 8 to 15 years after the vintage, but top wines from the strongest vintages can offer longer aging potential.