Chateau de Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone 2018
Syrah requires a warm climate to fully ripen but enough moderating effect to produce intense, aromatic wines that are not overwhelmed by sweetness and alcohol. This Syrah grows in ideal terroirs of the southern Rhône and shows the varietal’s typical spicy notes of sandalwood, violets, and black pepper.
Syrah, with its deep flavors and firm tannins, is a natural match for grilled or smoked meat and dishes featuring herbs, roasted mushrooms, and onions. Seared venison or beef with black pepper and thyme or a Moroccan tagine of pigeon or chicken are complimented by the spicy characteristic of Syrah.
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The 2018 Cotes du Rhone is 100% Syrah, sourced from the Gard (on the right bank of the Rhône) and Vinsobres (left bank, higher elevation). Violets, black olives and cassis and blueberry flavors provide terrific varietal expression in a medium to full-bodied package framed by silky tannins. Depending on your local pricing (I've seen it for as little as $12.99 or as much as $20), it should be a terrific value.
Chateau de Saint Cosme is the leading estate of Gigondas and produces the appellation’s benchmark wines. Wine has been produced on the site of Saint Cosme since Roman times, evident by the ancient Gallo-Roman vats carved into the limestone below the chateau. The property has been in the hands of Louis Barruol’s family since 1570. Henri and Claude Barruol took over in 1957 and gradually moved Saint Cosme away from the bulk wine business. Henri was one of the first in the region to work organically beginning in the 1970s. Louis Barruol took over from his father in 1992, making a dramatic shift to quality, adding a négociant arm to the business in 1997, and converting to biodynamics in 2010.
Typically thought of as a baby Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the term Côtes du Rhone actually doesn’t merely apply to the flatter outskirts of the major southern Rhône appellations, it also includes the fringes of well-respected northern Rhône appellations. White can be produced under the appellation name, but very little is actually made.
The region offers some of the best values in France and even some first-rate and age-worthy reds. Red varieties include most of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape varieties like Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Counoise, as well as Carignan. White grapes grown include Grenache blanc, Roussanne and Viognier, among others.