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L'Ostal Cazes Minervois La Liviniere 2003
Admirers of Bordeaux know the Cazes family well. One leading wine publication memorably dubbed Jean-Michel Cazes "The New Baron of Bordeaux" for his stunning Château Lynch-Bages and Ormes de Pez. The Cazes family name has long stood for vision and dedication to top-flight winemaking. Now, this internationally renowned winemaking family has set its sights on southern France, lured by the promise of the vineyards of Languedoc. After much searching, Cazes, with Lynch Bages' chief winemaker Daniel Llose, discovered an exceptional site on the terraces of La Livinière and purchased a 370-acre property that enjoys the benefits of warm Mediterranean sunshine and the night time coolness of the Causse plateau. Cazes renamed the property "L'Ostal Cazes."
The Cazes family name has long stood for vision and dedication to top-flight winemaking. Now, this internationally-renowned winemaking family has set its sights on southern France, lured by the promise of the vineyards of Languedoc.
After much searching, Cazes, with Lynch Bages' chief winemaker Daniel Llose, discovered an exceptional site on the terraces of La Livinière and purchased a 370-acre property that enjoys the benefits of warm Mediterranean sunshine and the night time coolness of the Causse plateau.
Cazes renamed the property "L'Ostal Cazes" as L'Ostal means both family and family house in the ancient "langue d'oc." Under the leadership of Jean-Michel's son, Jean-Charles, the vineyard has undergone a complete renovation including new trellising, replanting, and the installation of state-of-the-art equipment designed to produce top quality wines.
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.