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Chateau Lamargue Costieres de Nimes Rouge 2003
A bright ruby red color. The bouquet has an intense, fruit-forward nose with notes of licorice and dried fruit. The palate is fresh, vibrant and well-balanced, with ripe blackberry and black currant flavors, soft tannins and a smooth, round finish.
Located in France's southern Rhône Valley, Château Lamargue (Lah-Marg) comprises 210 acres of vineyard in the up-and-coming Costières de Nîmes appellation. The estate boasts a showcase winery equipped with the most advanced winemaking technology as well as new French and American oak barriques. Investment to date stands at over $12 million dollars. Their Costières de Nîmes AOC wines come from vineyards where yields are approximately one bottle of wine per vine.
Château Lamargue in this up-and-coming appellation in France's southern Rhône Valley was established in 1999. The property, which was purchased in 2001 by Campari, includes 85 hectares (210 acres) of vineyards planted in an array of grape varieties, notably Syrah.
Chateau Lamargue boasts a new showcase winery equipped with the most advanced winemaking technology. The estate's vineyards have undergone a similarly thorough rehabilitation, as have Lamargue's aging cellars (chais), which are now replete with all-new French and American oak barriques.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.
In the Glass
The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.
Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.
Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin, and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.