Rhone producer Saint Cosme is located north of the village of Gigondas and is the oldest estate in this region in France. The estate is built on the site of a Gallo-Roman villa, which was thought to have its own vineyard – a document from 1416 mentions that Jean de Chalon, Prince of Orange, granted ‘land for the planting of vines on the Sainte Cosme slopes’.
Louis Barruol has run the property since 1992, which has been in the family’s possession since 1570. The estate has 15 hectares of vines, averaging 60 years old, situated around the domain and the old Roman Saint Cosme chapel. There’s a diversity of soils in the three vineyards as Sainte Cosme is sited at the crossing of two geological faults. Le Poste has limestone marl with a small proportion of sand and produces the most feminine and refined of Saint Cosme’s wines. Le Claux has yellow limestone clay with fine gravel on the surface and produces Gigondas with a Burgundian feel because of their finesse and complexity, while the sandy, very limestoney soil of the Hominis Fides vineyards combines with Grenache to produce well-textured wines with refined tannins. Louis Barruol says, ‘Le Claux is the largest field at Saint Cosme (1.8 ha) and it is maybe the best. Hominis has probably more depth and Le Poste is a more charming wine, but I have this idea that La Claux might be the best “old wine”. We will know the truth about this in ten years’ time.
Grapes grown include the usual Rhone gang of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Mourvedre, Clairette, Cinsault, Roussanne, Viognier, Marsanne and Picpoul de Pinet. They generally work by hand at Sainte Cosme with the aim of making wines which express their terroir with purity and personality in this cool and late-ripening microclimate.
Louis’ wines, which have become some of the most well-known from the appellation and which have been organic since 2010, go through a long maceration period and are bottled without filtration, then aged in the new cellar that was built in 2007.
Roussanne, Picpoul, Marsanne, Viognier
The Rhone valley in southeast France, northern Rhone produces the highest qualtiy wines such as Hermitage and Cote Rotie, while the southern Rhone is the most important in terms of quantity.
These wines are more distinctive in style than the mainstream grape varieties and usually provoke a love/hate response! Worth testing out on your tastebuds is a Gewurztraminer for a luscious & fragrant wine with lychee, lime and apricot aromas. This wine is wonderful with Chinese or Thai food. Discover the full on fruitiness of the fabulous Riesling grape which develops petrol aromas as it ages.
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