Posts tagged: Rhone

Costieres de Nimes – A Walk in the Vines

Earlier this year, a group of bloggers participated in a very interesting introduction to the Costieres de Nimes.

Costieres de Nimes

As I mentioned in last year’s Secret Wine competition, Costieres de Nimes is an interesting wine country that sits between the Languedoc and Rhone (both geographically and stylistically).  This unique position allows them to create their own style of elegant, rich wines.

A few observations:

  • Mostly red and rosé; syrah, grenache, etc.
  • Most producers I met seemed to have relatively large properties (40+ hectares)
  • about 100 wineries and 400-some growers.
  • Approximately 4500 hectares
  • mixed agriculture and viticulture
  • The vines were at least 3 weeks ahead of schedule in May 2011

I just popped a bottle of Chateau Mourgues du Gres yesterday with my dad.  It was one of my favorite producers from the trip, and the bottle I brought home was just as good as I remembered.  Here’s a video of the winemaker at Mourgues du Gres recorded by Christian Pennaud from Vinblog.

Costieres de Nimes is a region where people can make rich wines with a lot of balance. My kind of place.

I might also note that this is a slightly more agrarian landscape than many parts of the south of France. Beside vineyards, you could find fruit orchards, squash gardens, and other signs that there’s a little more water in the Costieres de Nimes than you might find in the heights of the Coteaux du Languedoc. It’s not ALL garrigue here. And that’s not a bad thing. The ultimate proof that this is an interesting terroir is that we tasted great wine (and enjoyed a beautiful walk too!)

Vignes Toquées

The Vignes Toquées event is a really wonderful opportunity to taste wine in context amidst the vines. You walk along a route that connects six vineyards. Each vineyard has a food station so that, by the end of the day, you’ve had a six course meal, tasted dozens of wines, and seen several different properties.

You really get to roam around where the wine comes from. See the vines. Kick the dirt. Feel the Mediterranean sunshine (and this May, it was out IN FORCE).

The biggest problem with tasting wine this way is that you can get really really hot (and somewhat exhausted). But the producers did an amazing job of keeping wines at temperature and the food was delicious.  And they had lots of water at all the stations.  Seasoned wine tasters know that water can be a rare commodity at some tasting events.  But there was plenty here to keep us hydrated as we walked in the warm Mediterranean sunshine.  Though I will admit that even I started to falter somewhere between the bull meat and the cheese course.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and I was drinking more water than wine by the end of the walk (liters of both! ;D)

All in all, these sort of ballades gourmandes are really awesome. Although you should remember to pace yourself!

Toward the end of the day, I caught up with Daniel Roche who has helped to organize the Vignes Toquees and other ballades gourmandes around the region.  He refused to take credit for how well the event ran, but you can tell he’s very pleased!  “Il faisait beau. Il fasait chaud.  Mais on est comme-même dans une région de chaleur et de soleil donc c’est bien qu’il faisait beau et chaud!”

What kind of people come to Vignes Toquees?

I also love how varied the crowd was. French and foreign. Young and old. People came as couples, family outings, or just a fun day with friends. It’s great to see that the event appeals to such a diverse array of people.

Some of the other bloggers’ accounts

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Secret Wine – Costieres de Nimes, between Languedoc and Rhone

Hey remember when we used to taste wine on this website?

My dad and I, mid-harvest, did a blind tasting as part of the Secret Wine competition and marketing push by Claire de Lune.  And I wasn’t sure if this would end up on Love That Languedoc or not.  For one thing, the wines might have been from somewhere outside the Languedoc.  And for another, we figured we’d be so embarassingly far off that we wouldn’t want to publish our blind tasting.

But as it turns out, I think it fits in perfectly with the Love That Languedoc theme of exploration and discovery and fun.

So in our first round of guessing, I went all Languedoc.  My dad cited Plan de Dieu, one of the Cotes du Rhone Village named village appellations, but I didn’t use that in my final ballot.  Claire de Lune, the marketing agency, told me to guess again.  So for my second guess I went all Cotes du Rhone Village.  And in the end, it turned out to be something in between: Costieres de Nimes.

I think the marketing campaign was a success (despite deadbeats like me who waited months to publish something).  Because the tasting brought me to a natural conclusion: Costieres de Nimes is somewhere between Languedoc and Rhone.

For those who don’t know, Costieres de Nimes used to be a Languedoc wine region and it’s still located in the Languedoc politically.  But the winemakers have successfully aligned themselves with the Rhone and this Secret Wine competition will hopefully help promote the idea that they’re between two worlds.  Personally, I use this dual personality very seflishly.  Whenever I like a Costieres de Nimes, I say it’s Languedoc. And when I don’t like it, I blame it on the Rhone.

Congrats to the winner who was the first to blurt out Costieres de Nimes!

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Cork’d Loves that Languedoc-Roussillon – Jon Troutman covers the Grenache Symposium

It was fun to meet Cork’d Content editor Jon Troutman in real life at the Grenache Symposium in the south of France. We’ve had lots of virtual run-ins because Cork’d works with my family’s wines, but it’s always nice to meet IRL. I’m happy to see he’s still talking about some of the great Languedoc and Roussillon wines that were being showcased at the Symposium.

I promise I’ll visit Richard Case at Domaine Pertuisane and show you some of his old vines, all planted on stoney slopes that produce some of the best Maury I’ve ever tasted.   Case compares to even the top cuvées from my friend at Calvet-Thunevin, also producing in Maury, and I’m always happy to discover another great estate in the area.  The focus on this wine is power, extraction and density.  VERY interesting wine.

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Chateau Puech Haut Fantasy Dinner – Love That Languedoc Episode 50

We had an epic dinner and I’ll post lots of photos, but this short video is the dozen and some winemakers who proudly presented their wines at Puech Haut’s dinner Tuesday night.

As you can see, they are a fun and goofy group. But the wines don’t mess around.

It’s probably the best traditional meal I’ve ever had. Four courses, cheese and dessert. Sticking to traditional cuisine with a few inspired highlights and garnishes to update the dishes. And three to four excellent wines with every course (selected by Philippe Cambie to accompany each part of the meal).

I’m proud to see Languedoc wines like Oustal Blanc’s Maestroso and Puech Hauts’ wines served alongside legendary names in Chateauneuf du Pape and the rest of the Rhone and even some of our neighbors in Spain.

Good times!

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