With SIP and not being able to wander the wine aisles, what are you buying and what are you drinking?
Personally, I love strolling the aisles in the ‘candy store’ (AKA wine shop) and touching the merchandise. It’s frustrating not being able to do so as I do a lot of reading and I always feel as if I hit the jackpot when I stumble upon a wine I have been reading about. It’s the thrill of a treasure hunt with an unexpected silver lining.
By using Zoom as a way of sharing a glass of wine (or a cocktail), we have been labeling our chats as a ‘virtual wine tasting.’ That puts the pressure on me to try and choose a wine to ‘share’ that will be agreeable to a broad range of palates while not losing sight of the fact that there will not be a meal to accompany the offering. And, oh by the way, we are really using this time to ‘catch up’ with each other and see another human.
I could list many producers that are crafting very nice wines, and can do so over time, but today I want to introduce you to Chateau de Saint Cosme. This is a winery in the Southern Rhone area of France that makes many different wines from various AOPs.
Imagine…an ancient estate purchased in 1570 with grape vines already on the property. A chateau is soon constructed over the existing cellars which contained perfectly preserved Gallo-Roman fermentation vats. The Barruol family and their ancestors have been vignerons at the property for 14 generations.
The actual property is in Gigondas with the beautiful Dentelles de Montmirail as a backdrop. While the vines from the property surrounding the Chateau are used for their Gigondas wine, the Chateau also produces wines from Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, St. Joseph and Châteauneuf-Du- Pape, to name just a few of their offerings.
As with many producers, the Barruol family wear many producer hats. First, as an Estate where they grow the grapes and produce the wine. However, they also source grapes from other growers and produce wine under the Saint Cosme (vs. the Chateau de Saint Cosme) label.
The Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone 2018 is an affordable and accessible offering that hits all the ‘good quality’ targets. While it is labeled as a Cotes du Rhone wine (which generally would mean it is a GSM blend = Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre), this wine is 100% Syrah. That is very appealing to me as generally, to get a 100% Syrah wine, you need to move up into the Northern Rhone at a much higher price point. The grapes for this bottling were sourced from the right bank of the Rhone in the Gard area as well as the left bank in Vinsobres from a higher elevation.
The core of the wine is purple with aromas of violets, black cherry, black pepper and black olives. It is medium plus in body with well-integrated, silky tannins and a very long finish. I found it pleasant for quaffing but know how wonderful this wine is with lamb chops with rosemary and garlic mashed potatoes.
For you ‘score hounds’, the critic community agrees. Robert Parker 90 points, Wine Enthusiast 91 points and James Suckling 91 points.
I purchased for $15 and have seen it priced in the $14 – 20 range.
While I have spotlighted just one offering from this Chateau and at the accessible rung of the marketing ladder, they are producing quality wines in all areas. The point I am hoping to make = find a quality producer and try various wines across that brand. Some will be accessible as this Cotes du Rhone, some with be in a stretch category that you might purchase only for special occasions and others you may never buy because of the price point. However, in a good vintage year, you can often find wines from these producers that over-deliver quality at a reasonable price. It is also fun to have a story to tell about the wine and winery.
I hope you enjoyed this virtual tasting…stay safe out there!
Claire L. Torbeck
WSET Diploma Candidate