Chateau de Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone Blanc le Poste 2020
Clairette is an old variety that likely originated in southern France often used to produce simple and crisp dry white wines or as a component in a blend such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape blanc. White wines from Clairette have a tradition at Saint Cosme, specifically at Le Poste, where Louis Barroul’s grandfather produced famously long-lived Le Poste Blanc. Limestone soils give Le Poste Blanc a flavor of gunflint and the ability to age for twenty years or more.
When Clairette is made in a serious manner it deserves the same place at the table as great white burgundy, especially when from an outstanding vineyard such as Le Poste. In fact, Le Poste Blanc can be used at the table much in the same way a great Chablis might pair well with oysters, roast chicken, or rabbit in mustard sauce.
On another level, the 2020 Côtes Du Rhône Le Poste Blanc comes from a gorgeous vineyard in Gigondas (Gigondas doesn’t allow whites, hence the Côtes Du Rhône label) just up the hill from the estate. It has lots of pineapple, bright, sappy herb, and some chalky mineral-notes as well as a medium-bodied, pure, seamless style on the palate. It’s a brilliant white and shows how shortsighted it is for this appellation to not allow whites. I like this today, yet it will be better with a year of bottle age and have a decade of longevity.
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.
Full-bodied and flavorful, white Rhône blends originate from France’s Rhône Valley. Today these blends are also becoming popular in other regions. Typically some combination of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier form the basis of a white Rhône blend with varying degrees of flexibility depending on the exact appellation. Somm Secret—In the Northern Rhône, blends of Marsanne and Roussanne are common but the south retains more variety. Marsanne, Roussanne as well as Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picpoul and Ugni Blanc are typical.
Typically thought of as a baby Chateâuneuf-du-Pape, the term Côtes du Rhône 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 wines 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 wine varieties include most of the Chateâuneuf-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.