Less than thirty minutes’ drive north-east of Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the southern Rhône appellation of Gigondas. It is here where you will find Château de Saint Cosme, an estate that has passed down through fourteen generations of family vignerons. With fifteen hectares of old vines (average age is 60 years-old), spread across two geological fault lines, the wines produced by Louis Barruol and his team are an authentic and vibrant expression of the terroir here. In 1997, Barruol established a négociant branch to the Château in order to produce wines from other parts of the Rhône valley that he thought deserved more attention. This range of wines are labelled simply ”Saint Cosme”.
Of the 2020 vintage of Gigondas red, Louis Barruol remarks that the wine reminds him of the ones made by his father – wines of purity and finesse. The 2020 is a blend of 70% Grenache noir, 14% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre and 1% Cinsault. The grapes are whole-bunch fermented and the wine then matured for twelve months in a combination of oak casks (20% new, 50% second/third/fourth-fill) and concrete tanks (30%). The wine is bottled unfiltered.
Louis Barruol has a solera system of wine at the estate. The solera goes back to the 1999 vintage, with the youngest component in it from the 2021 vintage. Each year, a Vin de France classified red wine is released under the label Little James’ Basket Press. The current multi-vintage edition of this is a blend of 60% Grenache noir and 40% Pinot noir. None of the components in the solera have had contact with oak. All have been fermented and aged in concrete tanks. This is a bright, expressive red wine with violet, peppery and slightly meaty tones. This is a wine made for enjoying now in its youth.
The third wine making up the mixed selection is the 2021 vintage of Côtes-du-Rhône red. It continues to be 100% Syrah sourced from vines planted in the limestone and clay-rich soils of the Vinsobres and Villafranchiennes du Gard appellations. The Syrah grapes are partially de-stemmed before undergoing fermentation and maturation exclusively in concrete tank. This is a wine for all those who enjoy the newer wave of more gently extracted South African Syrah where depth of aromas and flavour is not about ripeness or oak.
Details of the mixed case are below.
One final mention of the 2021 Côtes-du-Rhône is that we received a small amount of it in magnum (1.5-litre) format! At R550 per magnum, this is easily one of the ”best buys” in the GD cellar right now.
Château de Saint Cosme
Gigondas Rouge 2020
x 2 bottles
Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge 2021
x 4 bottles
Little James’ Basket Press
Vin de France Rouge NV
x 6 bottles
per 12-bottle mixed case
Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge 2021