It’s August, the month where Parisians traditionally hand over the city to the tourists and aller a la plage. We spent July in Provence, which was nice, but it tends to get a bit hot and crowded this time of year, so we’re heading right next door - to Costières de Nîmes, which sits at the intersection of Provence, the Languedoc and the Rhône Valley. Officially part of the latter, it is both the southernmost appellation in the region and  the coolest weather-wise. It is also the only place in the Southern  Rhône - Grenache country, generally speaking - where Syrah predominates. And while Costières does share with its neighbors a surfeit of sunshine, the influence of the Mistral winds, and most famously, galets, the iconic large round stones that stipple the vineyards of Chateauneuf du Pape, its wines are defined by the distinctive climatic conditions that obtain there and nowhere else. 

Costières de Nîmes overlooks the largest river delta in Western Europe, a unique biosphere known as the Camargue, where the two arms of the Rhone meet the Mediterranean. Costières is part of the Petit Camargue, a marshy plain whose proximity to the sea means that the intense summer heat is leavened by cool maritime breezes, causing substantial diurnal temperature shifts, which preserves acidity in grapes and imbues the resultant wines with striking freshness and concentrated fruit flavors. Red and rosé  constitute 55% and 40%, respectively, of the region’s total production, and every bottling must be a blend of at least two grapes. A relatively young appellation - its AOC status dates back to 1986 - Costières makes wines that are appropriately energetic, approachable and easy drinking, but the specificity of its climate and terroir provide layers of complexity that means they are age-worthy and great with food as well. 

This month’s selections come from one producer: Château Mougues du Grès. Occupying a former agricultural estate of the Ursulines de Beaucaire order that dates back to the 16th century, the winery owes its name to the nuns called ‘Mourgues’ in the Provençal language, and ‘Grès’, the rounded rocks of the region that give the wines their character. Winemaker François Collard ‘s father first purchased the estate, and made some wine, but mostly sold grapes in bulk. After starting his career in Bordeaux, working in the cellar at Château Lafite-Rothschild, Francois returned home in 1990, soon after the Costières de Nîmes received appellation status, and bottled his first wine in 1993. He continues to run the estate today,  together with his wife Anne. All our actions, be it in the vineyard or the cellar, are guided by our mindfulness of nature, and respect for the terroir and the environment,” Francois says. “Our official certification in Organic Agriculture in 2004 corresponds to these convictions. Since 2015, vinification has been carried out without sulfur for more purity and intense fruitiness. A light addition and a very slight filtration during bottling ensures the stability of the wine. May these bottles accompany your delectable moments of conviviality and celebration!”

Think Pink!

Carrie Upson- General Manager

Château Mourgues du Grès Capitelle 2020 

Region/Country of Origin: Costières de Nimes AOP, France 

About the Winery: Château Mourgues du Grès is on the plateau of Beaucaire, where they benefit from both northern and southern sun exposure. They have a mix of soils, galets stones, sand, and they even have an area with limestone, which is quite rare in the appellation. The Collard’s have always been innovators, working to unlock the very best of the terroir. François’s father was the first to plant Syrah in the region and today it is the most widely planted variety in the Costières de Nîmes.

About the Winemaking: The marriage of Mourvèdre and Grenache, with a touch of Syrah -depending on the vintage. This Rosé is made ‘de saignée’ method and is fermented and aged in demi-muids. This type of fermentation and aging brings a suaveness to the flavor as well as an aromatic complexity, with notes of spices and vanilla.

Tasting Notes: Peach skin color. Ample and concentrated bouquet on fresh red berries, slight brioche and bread dough. A beautiful, balanced minerality and a lot of volume on the fruit (redcurrant) with hints of spices and grilled hazelnut. Elegant and full-bodied with great depth of flavor lingering on the finish.

Winemaker: François and Anne Collard

Price: $21.99 btl/  $237.50

Suggested food pairing:

Can be paired with sweet and savory dishes, and exotic and spicy cuisine: roast pork with quince, lemon tagine, fish (bell pepper tuna).

Château Mourgues du Grès Fleur d’Eglantine 2021

Region/Country of Origin:  Costières de Nimes AOP, France 

About the Winemaking: Grenache mixed with Mourvèdre and a dash of Syrah (with a touch of Carignan -Depending on the vintage). Direct pressing for an airy wine with a delicate color. Vinification and aging done without sulphur for more purity and fruitiness. A slight addition at bottling to ensure the stability and the regularity of the wine.

Tasting Notes: Fleur d’Eglantine gets its name from its acidulous freshness and its luminous color, reminiscent of the petals of the wild roses that surround the vineyards. It’s a delicate rosé, airy and acidic, which unites floral aromas and crunchy red berries. “ Vibrant, mineral-accented tension, red berry and orange pith on the nose, along with building floral and herb notes. Shows firm tension and spicy cut in the mouth, providing tangy redcurrant, strawberry and blood orange flavors. The mineral note recurs on the penetrating finish , which hangs with strong tenacity.” 91 Points Vinous Media

Winemaker: François and Anne Collard

Price: $17.99 btl/$194.30 case

Suggested Food Pairing: 

Pairs well with fish and grilled vegetables, sweet and salty dishes (pineapple pork, orange chicken), tomato tart.

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