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This is the second installment and reminder for our class on wines of the southern Cote du Rhone.
None of our Cote du Rhone wines is in the”big” “primal” category; that description is mostly reserved for the top tier Chateauneuf-Gigondas wines. The first wine of the night is a Tavel rose, a medium to full bodied blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre produced by the saignee (bleed) technique. A portion of red wine juice is bled off after contact with the skins and seeds of the grapes. The saignee then ferments on its own without the skins and seeds. The result is a darker, richer rose than lighter roses versions made by other techniques.
The first red, rated 90 points, is an unusual single varietal Syrah from negociant Chateau Saint Cosme. Single varietal Syrah wines are the only reds in northern Rhone wines but uncommon in the southern Rhone. A negociant is an individual or firm that buys grapes and/or ready wine from growers and/or cooperatives. The negociant then blends, bottles, labels and sells the wine under its own brand or name. Ch. Saint Cosme also produces upper tier wines from its own vineyards. It is the oldest estate in the Gigondas region, and is located on the site of a Gallo-Roman villa which probably had its own vineyard. The second red, also produced by a negociant, is a 90 point medium bodied traditional “GSM” blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre.
The third 92 point red is a blend of Grenache and Syrah with no Mourvedre from the Costiere de Nimes appellation. This appellation was formerly part of the Languedoc-Roussillon AOC but authorized to transfer to the Rhone AOC in 2004. The last red is 94 points and a GSM blend that is medium to full bodied. According to the raters, it easily competes with any number of more expensive Chateauneuf-du-Papes and Gigondas. It will keep for 7-8 years.
The wines will be accompanied two French cheeses: a brie and a basque sheep cheese, and our customary French baguettes.