2017 Maison M.Chapoutier, La Ciboise, Costières de Nîmes, Rhone Valley, France.
The Chapoutier La Ciboise Costières de Nîmes Rouge is one of the world’s best values in red wine, made from a classic Rhone blend of mostly Grenache along with some Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Carignan sourced from this little known part of the Rhone valley in the Gard set on hardened clay, limestone and schist soils called Gress which has been producing quality wines since Roman times. These vines are littered with small pebbles deposited by the Rhône river during the Quaternary Period and are well drained, the vines go deep to get moisture and refreshment making them work hard and pushes concentration of flavors, which Chapoutier’s La Ciboise showing an intense inky purple/black color and impressive density, this 2017 is a pleasure filled full bodied vintage and expressive with layers of pure blackberry, boysenberry, dark currant and juicy plum fruits along with an array of spices, warm earthiness, crushed lavender, sweet violet floral tones and melted black licorice. This 2017, from a warm year has loads of character and stuffing, it shows just how delicious these Costières de Nîmes can be and this La Ciboise is pretty awesome stuff, it should drink for another few years, it would be a fun wine to stock up on, especially when you can find it for under $10!
Nîmes is a historic Roman town and world unesco heritage site with some of Europe’s greatest still in use Roman ruins including its famous double-tiered circa-70 A.D. amphitheater still used for concerts and interestingly bullfights, which were common in this area of France until modern times, in fact this part of France almost had the feel of America’s old west too with the French version of cowboys. Positioned well between Avignon, Marseille and Montpellier, Nîmes is part of the Rhone Valley wine region, but much less regarded than areas like Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas and Rasteau, though a great place to get bargains, like this savvy Chapoutier made wine. Nîmes is also very close to Tavel, the Rhone’s only AOC that is totally devoted to Rosé, so there plenty around here to enjoy and it is easy to drink well on the cheap. The Chapoutier La Ciboise is from machine harvested grapes and each varietal is fermented separately then blended later to taste with the wine aged only in cement tanks and only for a few months before bottling, it is intended to be an easy and fresh Cotes du Rhone or Cotes du Ventoux style wine to pop in its youth, its dark and lush flavors make it great with country fare and simple but robust cuisine. I could drink this stuff almost everyday, it makes for a sublime Tuesday night pizza wine.
($10-15 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive