2019 Saint Cosme, Crozes-Hermitage Rouge, Northern Rhone, France.
I am a huge fan of Louis Barroul’s negociant line of Northern Rhone bottlings, which seem, as I say almost every year, to get better with each new release and I especially love this Crozes-Hermitage bottling. The latest Saint Cosme Crozes-Hermitage, with its seductive purple/ruby hue, opens up with crushed violets and dark berries on the nose, leading to a full bodied palate of boysenberry, damson plum, blueberry fruits, along with light earthy notes, anise, cedar and olive tapenade. There is a purity flavors, in this 2019, along with good acidity and well judged tannic structure that hold things in taut detail, making for a beautifully crafted wine. The year provided good ripeness for a graceful mouth feel that is impressive for this appellation and this wine is a stunning value, delivering all the best that this grape has to offer. Barruol sources his Crozes-Hermitage from the granite hillsides of Gervans and Erôme, just behind Hermitage hill, noting himself that the wines are often quite similar to those of Hermitage, which explains why I can’t get enough of it. Going on, he adds that where these Syrah grapes are grown, it could almost be a unique appellation in its own right, because there is a huge difference within the terroirs of Crozes-Hermitage and this area is very different from the flatter sections. Saint Cosme, located in Gigondas, is famous for their estate and single terroir bottlings of Gigondas, which are maybe some of the greatest Grenache based wines on the planet. The property which dates back to 1416 was acquired Barruol’s ancestors back in 1570, and at the end of the sixteenth century they built a splendid residence over those ancient cellars. Château de Saint Cosme, which is on the 14th generation, is an exceptional and historical winery, with its Gallo-Roman fermentation vats perfectly preserved it lives and breathes with that connection to the past.

The Saint Cosme Crozes-Hermitage Rouge is crafted from 100% Serine clone, the area’s ancient Syrah variety, that many winemakers here covet for its extra dimension of complexity and most believe its the region’s best expression. Regardless, it really does transmit terroir wonderfully well, as on display here. For the 2019, again as he did in 2018, Barroul went with 100% de-stemmed grapes, preferring to promote a more elegant and fleshy profile, and while I admit that I am lover of the whole bunches and racy stem inclusion, this wine as I noted before is absolutely fabulous just as it is. The 2019 Crozes-Hermitage, again echos the 2016 and 2018 versions, two of my favorites, adding touches of lavender, spice, a subtle meatiness and low impact wood notes, as well as lingering creme de cassis, best to enjoy this Syrah with hearty and simple cuisine. These non estate northern Rhone bottlings from Barroul’s Saint Cosme include this Crozes-Hermitage, a lovely Condrieu, the Saint-Joseph, which can be wildly aromatic, as well as a series of collaboration wines with Kermit Lynch, along with a gorgeous Cote-Rotie, that is another incredible value. This vintage again saw a primary fermentation in vats and was aged in mostly used barrels with about 20% new oak being employed, that is impeccable here allowing for a touch of smoke and supple texture. I find the harmony in this wine almost perfect and the is a energy and roundness that gives this wine a luxurious feel, but doesn’t take away Syrah’s natural funk and savory tones. This impresses me every time I take a sip and makes this a crowd pleasing wine. Again, I love these Northern Rhone negociant offerings from Saint Cosme almost as much their legendary Gigondas, especially this Crozes, which is a stunning value, and if you’ve not had these wines now is a great time to explore them!
($30 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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