Chateau de Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone 2019
Be warned – this is a stellar vintage, the greatest since the extraordinary 2010. Of course, 2016 is great too, and even 2015, which in Saint Cosme was memorable. But there is a freshness, an intensity, an evanescence, something undefinable that is charming and vibrant in the 2019s. Blackberry, smoked bacon, charcoal, blueberry, rose.
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While the 2019 Cotes du Rhone is not a single-estate wine (it's labeled simply Saint Cosme, without the "Château de"), this 100% Syrah is a perennial bargain—and this could be its best vintage to date. Aromas of violets, cracked pepper, cassis and blueberries leap from the glass, while the medium to full-bodied palate is ripe but silky, leading into a long, mouthwatering finish. A blend of fruit from the Gard (the right bank of the Rhône) and Vinsobres (the left bank, about 400 meters above sea level), it retains a sense of freshness not often found in Syrahs from the Southern Rhône.
Ripe and friendly, with a blast of plum and boysenberry compote flavors laced with licorice and backed by a twinge of lavender on the plump finish.
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.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.