Ch Guiot Costieres de Nimes Crocodile 18
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Wines from the Costières de Nîmes in the south of France remain largely undiscovered and undervalued by the vast majority of wine aficionados. The winepress is guilty as well, and you have to dig pretty deep into most magazines and blogs to find more than a token amount of love and respect for the wines of this region. Along with some of the other out-of-the-way areas of the Rhône, I feel the wines of the Costières de Nîmes represent a quality to price ratio that's very hard to beat.
It's easy to understand why all of Europe wants to retire to the South of France. The combination of gorgeous landscape, pleasant climate, and warm, hospitable people is tremendously alluring. The 300 plus days of sunshine every year certainly add to the allure!
Formerly part of the Languedoc, the Costières de Nîmes AOC became part of the Rhône AOC in 1998 at the behest of the region’s vignerons since their wines are more similar to those in the Rhône Valley instead of the Languedoc. Here, as in the Rhône, Grenache and Syrah are king and the region’s soil and climate are remakable similar to Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Mas Cornut is always one of my favorite stops on the AWM buying trips to Europe and was a standout visit during the 2017 AWM Customer Trip to France. This small Château is located near the town of Saint-Gilles, 15 miles from the Mediterranean Sea, and just west of the Rhône River. The Château or "Mas" is owned by Silvia Cornut and managed by her twin sons Numa and Alexis, representing the 9th generation of vignerons in the Cornut family.
The twin brothers are meticulous in their viticultural practices and are true believers in sustainable agriculture, using no synthetic herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers on any of their vineyards. The rocky soil here will make you think of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and the fruit is always picked late, ensuring intense, profound wines with amazingly soft tannins.
The vineyards are planted primarily to Grenache, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon with a smattering of Chardonnay and other white varietals. Over the last 20 years, the wines made at the Mas have become reference points for the appellation.
I've always held the reds from Mas Cornut in very high regard. They have notes of the classic spice and garigue that you'd find in the Rhône. There's also a beautiful lift with just a touch of salinity thanks to the nearby proximity to the Med and salt marshes of Camargue.
The bright purple color in your glass leads to earthy aromas of garigue and dark berry. The tannins are present; however, they're shockingly soft! Dark berry, blueberry, coffee, and mocha notes dance together in a meaty framework that is remarkably lifted. In this 50-50 blend of Grenache and Syrah, both varietals do their job in perfect fashion — the Grenache provides the lift, and the Syrah provides the meaty depth. This little gem will shine alongside any of your grill-outs and BBQs. It's also an excellent porch red — the soft tannins provide pure drinking pleasure!
Château Guiot "Crocodile" is the new vintage of the popular "Flamingo" red that we featured all last year. The new vintage features the family's property name and traditional label instead of the flamingo motif. I'm delighted to be able to repeat the same great insider deal to email subscribers.