M. Chapoutier La Ciboise Costières de Nîmes Rouge 2017

Deep ruby-garnet color; raspberry, blackberry, black cherry, blackcurrant, plum, bramble, crushed stone, minerality, pepper on the nose and palate.

M. Chapoutier La Ciboise Costières de Nîmes Rouge 2017

Dry; fine, forceful tannins; balancing acidity. Medium-plus body. After six years there was significant sediment and the tannins remained assertive, decanting and pouring through a wire screen is strongly advised. Blend of grencache, syrah, mourvèdre, cinsault, carignan. Mechanical harvesting. After destemming, grapes fermented in concrete tanks, each variety separately. After daily tasting, wine is either pumped over or left to rest in order to extract aromas and tannins. After fermentation, temperature allowed to increase to 90 degrees to assist in polymerization of tannins. Blending followed. Wine then aged six months in concrete. No oak. 14% ABV

M (Michael) Chapoutier is renowned Rhône negotiant. He grows some vines, purchases juice from other vinegrowers in the great wine growing region of southeastern France. The Chapoutier family moto is Fac et Sprea—“do and hope”. Their website celebrates audacity: “Being audacious means keeping an open mind, embracing new horizons, other localities, other organic winegrowing methods. Being audacious means combining tradition and modernity, making it possible for them to join forces and engender new know-how and craft.”

Winemaker Michael Chapoulier

Costières de Nîmes technically now is part of the Rhône. Prior to 2004, it was considered part of the Languedoc (the regions are adjacent). As such, Costières de Nîmes is a relatively unknown Rhône region. But—drum roll—it earned its way into the Rhône because its soils and its wines are similar to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the apex plots in the southern Rhône. Decant and you have an astonishing value, a wonderful wine experience.

Part of that approach is careful attention to terroir, which includes responsible agriculture commitments and biodynamic agriculture in some areas. Led by winemaker Michael Chapoutier, they pioneered a special wine team dedicated to “accompanying the wine harvest” to provide guidance and support for implementing farming methods favored by M. Chapoutier among grape growers who provide grapes to the winery.

M. Chapoutier vineyard in Rhône Valley

M. Chapoutier also asserts dedication to consumers. Their stated values include: “Respect for the consumer whether they are wine connoisseurs or not. Maison M. Chapoutier crafts its regional wines with the same dedication given to the most prestigious bottles, investing just as much faith. The aim is always to convey the same love of wine, to give complete beginners a chance to discover its diversity.”

M. Chapoutier vineyard

M. Chapoutier La Ciboise Costières de Nîmes Rouge 2017 is rich, tasty GSM (plus some other classic Rhône grapes) that packs tannic punch and requires decanting. After some air it develops quite nicely, which you expect from the master Michael Chapoutier. Dark fruits prevail on the palate. Evolves into smooth purveyor of pleasure. Great QPR. Pair with rich beef, grilled ribeye, New York strip, top sirloin; braised, barbecued beef; beef stew; lamb; wild game—venison, boar; pork—baby back ribs, barbecue, tenderized chops, smoked butt; roast rabbit; sausage and meat-lover pizza; roast duck with plum sauce. Cheese—manchego, cheddar, smoked gouda, pecorino, asiago. $16-22

M. Chapoutier website

Michel Chapoutier