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Flat front label of wine

Michel Gassier Cercius Rouge 2010

Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
  • RP93
14.5% ABV
  • JD93
  • RP90
  • RP91
  • RP90
  • RP89
  • RP91
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3.7 15 Ratings
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3.7 15 Ratings
14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Cercius is a profound ruby color. The nose is intense and complex, with aromas of dark berries, licorice, and garrigue herbs. Opulent and velvety, without being heavy, this wine's fruity finish has an aerial expression of ripe tannins.

Pairs well with various meats and cheeses including wine-braised beef, raviolis with cepe mushrooms, roasted duck, veal chops with radicchio, white beans, grilled leg of lamb with thyme and allspice, brie, and for the more adventurous, epoisses, livarot, maroilles, or munster.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Wow, is this an exciting wine! A custom cuvee put together by importer Eric Solomon along with the brilliant oenologist Philippe Cambie and Costieres de Nimes’ up-and-coming superstar, Michel Gassier, this blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah (and there are 5,000 cases for the US) comes from the 70- to 80-year-old Grenache vines on the plateau of Domazan to the south of Chateauneuf du Pape. This sensational wine tastes more like Chateauneuf du Pape than just about any Cotes du Rhone one is likely to find. It is also another example of what looks to be another great vintage emerging from the southern Rhone – 2010. This is one of the greatest Cotes du Rhones I have ever tasted – wonderfully intense, deep ruby with some purple tinges, with a stunning nose of black raspberry liqueur intermixed with sweet cherries, licorice, pepper and Provencal lavender. Round, generous, opulent and heady, this fabulously intense, hedonistic wine should be drunk over the next 3-4 years. Bravo!
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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.

CVF104147_2010 Item# 112750