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Flat front label of wine

Michel Gassier Lou Coucardie Rouge 2010

Rhone Red Blends from Costieres de Nimes, Rhone, France
  • WS90
0% ABV
  • RP91
  • RP93
  • RP93
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Winemaker Notes

It's dark color, almost black, announces a wine of great concentration. Powerful and extremely complex, the nose displays a wide array of aromas such as dark berries, spices, eucalyptus and vanilla welded in great harmony. Rich and velvety, without being heavy, this wine pulls its finish in a aerial display of fresh fruits and ripe tannins.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 90
Wine Spectator
Fleshy and full-bodied, with dark mocha, roasted alder and steeped plum and blackberry flavors all entwined. The mocha edge lingers through the broad, dark finish. Mourvedre, Grenache and Syrah.
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Michel Gassier

Michel Gassier

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Michel Gassier, Costieres de Nimes, 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.

Costieres de Nimes

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Gently rolling hills covered by large, round stones on south-facing slopes, Costieres de Nimes is a substantial IGP zone that was formerly considered part of the Languedoc. Today it is included as a section of the southern Rhone; its climate, topography and wines put it more in line with that appellation. Grenache is its most important red variety, along with Mourvedre, Syrah and Carignan. Half of the production here is rosé.

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.

SWS335816_2010 Item# 141347