Lou Coucardié Rouge & Blanc
Nostre Païs Rouge & Blanc
Les Cépages
2018

LE MILLÉSIME… The 2016s from the Southern Rhône


2016 Michel Gassier Grenache de Beck    94-96 pts

All Grenache aged in demi-muids for a year then blended and moved in vat, the 2016 Costières de Nîmes Grenache de Beck is a mix of the two best parcels in the vineyard, one being denser and richer and the other being more aromatic. It’s scheduled to be bottled next week and sports a medium ruby/purple color as well as a perfumed, floral bouquet of black raspberries, crushed flowers, and exotic spices. It’s impeccably balanced, has beautiful depth of fruit, full-bodied depth and richness, and serious length. It will be a candidate for one of the greatest wines to come from this appellation.

2016 Michel Gassier Syrah de Brousson    93-95 pts

Also still not in bottle, the 2016 Costières de Nîmes Syrah de Brousson comes from the northern part of the appellation (which is more iron and rolled stone soils). It saw a small amount of stems and was vinified and aged in one-third demi-muids. Its deep purple color is followed by truly beautiful notes of black raspberries, blackberries, incense, blood orange, and peppery spice. It’s deep, medium to full-bodied, has remarkable purity, and is beautifully balanced. This brilliant Syrah is going to benefit from a year or two of bottle age and keep for a decade.

2016 Michel Gassier Costières de Nîmes Lou Coucardié    93-95 pts

Still in demi-muids (they’re pushing the élevage with this cuvée), the 2016 Costières de Nîmes Lou Coucardié is a blend of 50% Mourvèdre, 30% Grenache, and the rest Syrah. It boasts a rich, full-bodied yet incredibly elegant and seamless profile that’s every bit as good as just about anything you can find in the Southern Rhône in 2017. Offering lots of cassis, black raspberries, toasted spices, and cured meat notes, this beauty has solid mid-palate depth and sweet tannins, and while it’s going to drink nicely right out of the gate, it’s also going to age gracefully for over a decade.

2016 Michel Gassier Costières de Nîmes Nostre Païs    92 pts

Almost all from the estate Bec Vineyard in the southern part of the appellation, the 2016 Costières de Nîmes Nostre Païs is a blend of 55% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and the rest Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault. Orange peel, black raspberries, exotic flowers, spice, and a limestone-like minerality all flow from this elegant, seamless, medium to full-bodied 2016 that has both freshness and richness. It’s a no-brainer purchase and will drink nicely for 5-6 years.

2016 Michel Gassier Costières de Nîmes Syrah    91 pts

Incorporating 10% Grenache, the 2016 Costières de Nîmes Syrah saw a small amount of stems and was raised all in concrete tanks. It’s a screaming value that reminds me of a St. Joseph with its blue fruits, bay leaf, mint, and subtle minerality. Full-bodied, rich and concentrated, it seemingly has one foot in the Northern Rhône and one in the Southern Rhône. You could do much worse than a case of this, and it should keep nicely for 4-5 years.

2017 Michel Gassier Costières de Nîmes Lou Coucardié    94-96 pts

Michel commented that the Mourvèdre was wonderful in 2017, and the 2017 Costières de Nîmes Lou Coucardié checks in as 50% Mourvèdre, 30% Grenache and the balance Syrah, all aging in 500- and 600-liter barrels. It’s an incredible looking barrel sample that has a deep, rich, opulent bouquet of blueberries, cassis, raspberries, spiced meats, and garrigue. Thick, powerful and concentrated, yet perfectly balanced, with ample tannin, it’s a rock star of a wine that’s going to benefit from short-term cellaring and shine for over a decade.

2017 Michel Gassier Costières de Nîmes Nostre Païs    92-94 pts

Almost exclusively from the estate Bec Vineyard in the southern part of the appellation, the 2017 Costières de Nîmes Nostre Païs is a great, great vintage for this cuvée. Black raspberries, crushed flowers, lots of minerality, and hints of incense give way to a deep, rounded, supple, and powerful version of this cuvée that has a great finish. The 2017 is a blend of 60% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 15% Syrah and the rest Carignan and Cinsault, aged in equal parts used French oak and concrete.

2017 Michel Gassier Costières de Nîmes Syrah    89-91 pts

The 2017 Costières de Nîmes Syrah was fermented with 10% stems and offers classic Syrah notes of meaty dark fruits, chocolate, and violets. It’s terrific on the palate as well, with more depth and concentration than its humble price point would have you believe. Readers looking for a great value can’t go wrong here.

2017 Michel Gassier Côtes du Rhône    90-92 pts

A new wine from this team (or at least the first time I’ve tasted it), the 2017 Côtes du Rhône Bois de Magnan is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre, and 10% Syrah. It’s going to be another terrific value from this estate (although this cuvée isn’t imported to the US) and has a medium to full-bodied, rich, even opulent profile as well as outstanding notes of black fruits, licorice, spice, and earth. It’s a rich, pleasure-bent effort to drink over the coming 4-5 years.

2017 Michel Gassier Costières de Nîmes Lou Coucardié White    93-96 pts

Raised all in 500-liter barrels, the medium gold-colored 2017 Costières de Nîmes Lou Coucardié offers a sensational bouquet of white peaches, exotic flowers, honeysuckle, caramelized citrus, and an undeniable minerality. This flows to a deep, rich, full-bodied white that’s the equivalent of many a top Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc. This puppy goes screaming off the QPR scale and is a thrilling white that readers need to try. As I’ve written numerous times, when the quality far exceeds the price, just pretend you paid more. The blend is 40% Roussanne, 30% Grenache Blanc, 20% Clairette, and the rest Viognier.

2017 Michel Gassier Costières de Nîmes Nostre Païs White    92 pts

As always, the 2017 Costières de Nîmes Nostre Païs shines for its purity and finesse. Made from 45% Grenache Blanc, 30% Roussanne, and the rest Clairette, Viognier, and Bourboulenc, it offers abundant notes of white peaches, orange zest, and honeysuckle. With medium body, a bright, vibrant, balanced texture, and building richness, it’s going to be versatile on the dinner table and drink nicely for 3-4 years, possibly longer.

 

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