Wine Reviews: Costières-de-Nîmes

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 08-28-2021

For interesting, inexpensive Rhone wines, Costières-de-Nîmes is a fount of good options.

I’ve enjoyed sipping these wines over the years, and I dug into this region further earlier this summer, when I attended a wine tasting and webinar led by a great teacher, MS Evan Goldstein, and winemaker Michel Gassier.

The southernmost appellation in the Rhone, about an hour west of Avignon, the rosé and red wine production here is pretty evenly split, with about 8% white wines, too. Syrah is the dominant red grape here, supported by Grenache, and backed up by Carignan, Cinsault and Marselan. There are lots of old vines, interesting blends, and it’s also one of the “greener” appellations in the area, with 25% of vines farmed organically.

At the end of the Rhone delta, vineyards are situated in rolled, pebbly soils. The climate sees plenty of hot sun, but also cooling influences from the nearby Mediterranean Sea and Petite Camargue marshes. (As a winelover and birdwatcher, I’d sure love to visit this area to scope birds and taste wine all day.)

If you have gone through various cycles of discovering exciting wineries or regions, only to watch them explode in popularity (and price) to the point where you feel priced or crowded out – I can relate. And I was mulling over that dynamic while tasting these wines, thinking about how they have a refreshing sense of timelessness. Inexpensive pink wine that packs a punch and tastes “real”? Or complex, spicy, earthy red blends that evoke roasted meats and herbs? White blends that are juicy but fresh and salty? Those are all to be found in Costières-de-Nîmes – all without the crowded, overpriced, celebrity label vibes. And $15 to $30 will take you pretty far. If you haven’t yet, you may find a lot to like exploring Costières de Nîmes.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2020 Mas des Bressades Costières-de-Nîmes Cuvée Tradition Blanc France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
SRP: $14
Medium yellow color. The nose pops with white flowers, nettle, sea salt, with some honeyed, raw almond tones, over top of lemon and orange peel. Delightfully zippy yet creamy on the palate with a vibrant, chalky, salty appeal. Lemon, orange peel and apricot fruit mix with hay, nettle, almond and honeycomb complexities. Fresh but shows such impressive depth, especially considering the price. A versatile and dynamic blend of 50% Roussanne, 30% Grenache Blanc, 10% Marsanne and 10% Viognier, fermented in concrete. (90 points IJB)

2018 Michel Gassier Costières-de-Nîmes Nostre Païs Blanc France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
SRP: $23
Deep yellow color. The nose shows a nice mix of rich fruit (yellow apple, apricot and orange marmalade) with some chalky, sea salt, yellow flower elements, too. Punchy on the palate but shows solid acidity, which keeps if focused and fresh. Yellow apples and creamy pears meet clove, honey and graham cracker flavors, with waxy, nutty tones. Rich but nuanced and complex, this seems like a crowd-pleaser to a lot of palates. 45% Grenache Blanc, 20% Roussanne, 20% Clairette, 10% Viognier and 5% Bourboulenc, aged half in old barrels, half in concrete, from 40-year-old vines. (91 points IJB)

2020 Château St-Louis la Perdrix Costières-de-Nîmes Rosé France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
SRP: $13
Pale copper. Boisterous nose of white cherry, red apple peel, with spicy, piney, peppery, floral perfume and sliced cucumber notes. Crisp acidity sets the stage but there’s this pleasant richness to the texture as well. Provencal-looking but more textural depth and fruit. White cherries, watermelon and red apple fruit blends well with white pepper, lemongrass, rose petals, and some wild strawberry and herbs, too. Delicious, and a solid value. Average vine age is 50 years, this is a saignee blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. (87 points IJB)

2020 Château Mourgues du Gres Costières-de-Nîmes Rosé Fleur d’Eglantine France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
SRP: $16
Deep copper color. A nice mix of plump cherry and watermelon fruit along with honeyed pears, white and yellow flowers, cantaloupe, a deep but vibrant approach. Such juicy texture on the palate with a pleasant creaminess buttressed by vibrant acidity. Peaches, watermelon and strawberry fruit, generous and round but with a crisp edge. A super cool mix of roasted red pepper, honeycomb, warm clay, along with nettle and sea salt tones. This is generous, complex, deep wine, one of those Tavel-esque pinks that would benefit from a few years of age, too. 60% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah. (90 points IJB)

2018 Château de Valcombe Costières-de-Nîmes Tradition France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
SRP: $20
Deep purple color. An eexciting nose of spicy, fruit tones, with deep plums and juicy black cherries, along with violets, sage, roasted red pepper and cracked black pepper. Silky but structured on the palate, with moderate tannins and vibrant acidity to support the tangy plum and black cherry fruit. Notes of violets, coffee, tar and glove mix with these red pepper flakes and paprika elements that are really delicious. Dusty, earthy, gravelly, black olive tones add complexity. Nice to age but solid now, especially with a lot of air. A grill-friendly mix of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache, fermented and aged 10 months in concrete tank. From 45-year-old vines in one of the appellation’s southernmost estates, limestone soils. (90 points IJB)

2018 Château Beaubois Costières-de-Nîmes Denim by Beaubois France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
SRP: $30
Light purple color. A spicy aromatic mélange of pepper, paprika, leather and campfire smoke on the nose, with plum sauce, currant jam and crispy bacon – a delightful mix. Full, chewy texture with moderate acidity on a frame of dusty tannins and juicy, dark fruit (plum sauce, currants and blueberries). Notes of charred herbs, black pepper, roasted red pepper, with smoky earth and leather. Coffee and tar tones on the finish, but this stays lively, too. Could stand a few years in the cellar or a decant. 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 20% Cinsault, aged 12 months in a mix of barrique and concrete tanks. (90 points IJB)

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