Jan 02, 2020Chris LaBranche


Château Cadenette Rhône, France Costières de Nimes 2017 The wines of Costières de Nîmes have been long known for their quality–indeed viticulture here dates back to at least the era of ancient Greece. Here, in the Gard département we have the most southerly wine region of the Rhône Valley that has been producing Provençal- style reds for centuries. Nonetheless, the wines of this corner of the Rhône have never achieved the fame of appellations like Châteauneuf du Pape or Gigondas farther North. The terroir and climate, nonetheless in Costières, are strikingly similar to these more famous appellations.

TASTING This organically-farmed Syrah-based blend is characteristically dark and savory, with a tannic spine not dissimilar to that found in young Cornas. On the nose, you’ll be greeted with notes of black olive and blackberry, and moving to the palate, you’ll find grippy tannins framing flavors of black currant, woodsmoke, and roasted herbs. A rare Thirst wine that will benefit from decanting or aerating, this wine demands rich, hearty fare–just the kind you’ll likely be serving in the dead of winter. Still, if you can try to enjoy this hearty bottle a little cooler than room temperature. Fifteen minutes in the fridge should do.


Though Grenache reigns widely across the expanses of the Southern Rhône Valley, there remain pockets where Syrah flourishes. Though Syrah’s home is surely in the cooler Northern Rhône, in the South its expression is often a bit more brutish, yet no less charming. French law requires Costières blends to be made up by at least 60% Grenache, Syrah, and/ or Mourvèdre. As such, there is a degree of flexibility for winegrowers based on their own personal taste, not to mention which varieties happen to do well on their particular vineyard sites. At Château Cadenette, a forward-thinking estate, this means a somewhat unusual Syrah dominant blend, rounded out with Grenache (80/20%).

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