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Michel Gassier Cercius Rouge 2009

Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
  • RP91
0% ABV
  • RP90
  • RP91
  • RP90
  • RP89
  • RP93
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Winemaker Notes

85% Grenache, 15% Syrah

Vineyards are located at an elevation of 400m in northern Vaucluse (left bank of the Rhone), where Grenache gives concentrated and deeply colored wines.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2009 Cercius red, a Visan Cotes du Rhone-Villages, is composed of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah. It represents a naked expression of Cotes du Rhone as it is aged completely in concrete prior to bottling. This medium to full-bodied wine possesses a deep ruby/purple color in addition to copious black currant and black cherry fruit interwoven with graphite, crushed rocks, and spice, excellent fruit intensity, a full-bodied mouthfeel, good acidity, and light tannins. It should drink nicely for 3-4 years.
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Michel Gassier

Michel Gassier

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Michel Gassier, Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
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In the northern Vaucluse, on the right bank of the Rhone river lies the village of Visan where the legendary mistral winds of Provence sweep over the vines. The Latin name for these north-northwest winds is CERCIUS – the defining feature and raison d'etre for partners Michel Gassier, Philippe Cambie and Eric Solomon to launch this new project. Between the brisk winds and an elevation of 400 meters, the grapes' freshness is protected and then preserved during vinification in concrete tanks.

Cotes du Rhone

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Typically though if as a baby Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the term Cotes du Rhone actually doesn’t merely apply to the flatter outskirts of that and other more major southern Rhone appellations, it also includes the fringes of well-respected northern Rhone 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, Cinsaut, and Counoise, as well as Carignan. White grapes grown include Grenache blanc, Roussanne and Viognier, among others.

Rhône Blends

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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.

Perfect Pairings

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.

Sommelier Secret

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.

WAL436622_2009 Item# 107806