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Michel Gassier Cercius Rouge 2011

Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
  • RP89
14.5% ABV
  • JD93
  • RP90
  • RP91
  • RP90
  • RP93
  • RP91
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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 89
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 Cercius Rouge Vieilles Vignes is a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah aged completely in concrete tanks. This is a big wine, especially for a 2011, tipping the scales at 14.5% alcohol, with some Grenache lots actually higher. Sweet kirsch liqueur intermixed with notions of smoky camphor and roasted meats are followed by a powerful as well as elegant, opaque purple-colored wine with deep fruit, medium to full body and a long finish. With abundant glycerin and fresh, it is a sexy red to enjoy over the next 2-3 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 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.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, red Rhône blends originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley. Grenache, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre typically form the base of the blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. With some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in Priorat, Washington, Australia and California.

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 is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit and a plush texture. Syrah supplies dark fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy and earthy notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume and earthy flavor as well as structure and a healthy dose of color. New World examples tend to be fruit-forward in style, while those from the Old World will often have more earth, structure and herbal components on top of ripe red and blue fruit.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. These can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes, playing equally well with beef, pork, lamb or game. Braised beef cheeks, grilled steak or sausages, roasted pork and squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the red Rhône 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 make an appearance.

CWMGS0211_2011 Item# 117872