Costières de Nîmes
A Languedoc-Roussillon region making Rhône style wine, the unusual Costières de Nîmes appellation blends together climatic factors from both regions. With a unique climate and geography, and a long history, the region makes red GSM blends that tend to be more elegant than wines of both the Languedoc and the Rhône. Delicate and well-made, the wines should be drunk young.
Costières is a sizable appellation, encompassing well over 10,000 acres of planted vineyards spread across 24 villages. Almost all the wine produced is red.
This region is one of the most historical in Europe as far as wine goes. Physically located in the Languedoc, it was likely the first part of the region to even be cultivated, and it is possible that it was the first region in France to make wine. In 1986, the appellation was granted AOC status, but it was found that it was not a good fit in the Languedoc. So in 2004 authorities decided to transfer the appellation to the Rhône region, so Rhône rules and regs now govern the region.
Climate and Viticulture
The rocky, pebbly soil is the main viticultural characteristic of this region. Located on a low plain with quartz deposits, the vineyards have an unusual soil makeup. In combination with the influence of the sea, the low plains make the appellation's climate much cooler than any in the Rhône.
Regulations on grape varieties in the Rhône are quite strict, and Costières is not exempt. The grapes colloquially known as the "Rhône Five" make up the majority of most blends: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsaut, and Carignan. Most of the wines are made up mainly of GSM with a little Cinsaut and Carignan added in. About 60% of the wines manufactured are red, and the vast majority of exports are red, but rosés from the same grapes make up approximately a third of production. White wine production here is an infinitesimal percentage of the total.
Look for Costières de Nîmes wines from these two producers:
- Château Grande Cassagne: All three colors of wine are made here. The Hippolyte is the main cuvée, but the Syrah provides good varietal flavors.
- Château Mourgues du Gres: This producer makes a number of Costières cuvées. The light rosés are the most prominent, but the reds are more powerful and distinctive.
There are no subregions here.