TN: HdR seminar #3 - Costieres de Nimes Blanc

HDR SEMINAR #3 - COSTIERES DE NIMES BLANC - Hospice du Rhone (4/18/2016)

Day 2 started with breakfast and then this seminar. There seemed to be some grumbling about it and yet some excitement. Hardly any of us had had a blanc and few a rose or red from this appellation, much less a flight of 8 of them together. Jeb Dunnuck was again the moderator but this time the flights consisted of two wines from each of four wineries with their vignerons present. It turned out to be my favorite seminar of the tasting. I learned so much about the appellation, the personalities, the wines and the history that it was very enjoyable. The relatively lighter whites were a nice beak to my palate as I eased into the day. Kudos again to Jeb as he led us thru the tasting with knowledge and humor. I was quite impressed with Jeb’s knowledge but even more with his ability to impart it. The four vingerons were entertaining and educational as well. The wines were good and I wish (as I am sure do they), there was better distribution. The price/value ratios were great!

It was interesting the common themes in the wines. First the salinity from being so close to the Mediterranean. Then there was a wintergreen note that many had. If you have ever noticed this in high end tequila, that is what I am talking about. Finally, there is a citrus note, kind of orange like that I think Jeb called Orange Blossom. That works for me. All the wines were served in their own glass poured before we entered the room. We had about an hour with the wines.

  • 2015 Château d’Or et de Gueules Costières-de-Nîmes Domaine de la Petite Cassagne - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
    I really enjoyed this wine. In fact, though it may have been the most frivolous wine it was my favorite of the tasting. Silvery gold/green in color. The nose has slight herbs, some tropical/citrus fruits. Slightly oily texture. It has crisp kumquats on the palate. Slight wintergreen on the finish. I loved the fresh vibrancy combined with the oily texture. Enough fruit and acidity even at 9:30 am to really wake up my palate. The owner, Diane de Puymorin, admitted that although this wine might last a few years it was better in year one. As it retails for under $15, I followed up with Robert Kacher who insisted the 14 was available. Neither show up presently on wine searcher which is too bad. I will keep looking for the 15 and if I see it soon, probably get a case for the summer to be drunk by September. (90 pts.)
  • 2015 Château d’Or et de Gueules Costières-de-Nîmes Les Cimels - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
    Silvery green gold in color. The nose has a slightly bitter peach quality to it. Slight citrus. Peaches and bitters on the palate. Finishes with an interesting bitters and saline quality. An enjoyable wine and at $15, fairly priced. (86 pts.)
  • 2015 Château Mourgues du Gres Costières-de-Nîmes Les Galets Dorés - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
    I had this initially rated at 85 but when I went back at the end, it had really opened up nicely. Light gold/green in color. The nose has chalk, limes and minerals. It didn’t change in composition but got significantly more expressive with air. Slightly oily in texture. Some citrus and with air, more salinity. A slight, slight heat to it at first which went away. Long citrus on the finish. $14 (88 pts.)
  • 2013 Château Mourgues du Gres Costières-de-Nîmes Capitelles des Mourgues - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
    The owner, Francois Collard said this was meant to be aged and would last a decade. Slightly lighter in color, green gold. The nose is tight. With air, some vanilla/lemon cream comes out. Good acidity. On the palate, limes with a creamy round texture. Nice long finish. Mostly from very old Grenache Blanc vines. This is more serious. Would like to try one with some real age on it. $22.
  • 2013 Michel Gassier Costières-de-Nîmes Nostre Païs Blanc - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
    Something seemed off with this wine. Maybe it was just too old and starting to fade. Green gold in color. The nose has some lemon but also this dried mushroom quality. Slightly oily texture. Lemons and the mushrooms carry thru. Some wintergreen on the finish. It seems consistent with the other wines, but old. I have no experience here but would like to try the 15 side by side. (86 pts.)
  • 2013 Michel Gassier Costières-de-Nîmes Lou Coucardie Blanc - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
    This is also meant to be aged a bit. Green gold in color. The nose has lemons and is also slightly musty. On the palate, it is tart. Slight limes, slight wintergreen. Long finish with more wintergreen. (87 pts.)
  • 2013 Château Mas Neuf Costières-de-Nîmes Compostelle Blanc - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
    Meant to age for 5 to 7 years. Gold/green in color. The nose is steely with limes. Thinner on the palate. Slightly oily. Good fruit. Slight heat on the finish. Long citrus/orange blossom on the finish. (88 pts.)
  • 2012 Château Mas Neuf Costières-de-Nîmes Armonio Blanc - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Costières-de-Nîmes
    Supposedly made to last 10+ years. Gold green in color. The nose is tight at first eventually giving up some minerals and oranges. Fresh fruit on the palate. Good mouthfeel. Good acidity. Oranges with some salinity. Long finish with oranges. At $35 I am not sure, but it is a very fine wine. I would like to try one with more age to see where it goes. (89 pts.)

As I said, prior to the tasting there was some grumbling as to whether this was a worthy topic before hand. I would say the majority of people I talked to were skeptical. Later in the day, it seemed that 90% of the people really appreciated it and many had it as their favorite. Those who did not like it, well, there are always some people… Kudos to the HdR team for putting this together!
Posted from CellarTracker

Loren,
You don’t mention the varieties in these. I presume the usual suspects? GrenacheBlanc/Viognier/Roussanne/Marsanne/Vermintino??
Tom

Tom, Yes a blend of those but no Marsanne. I was tired after writing up notes all day.

Awwwwww, Loren…whatta slacker. You should have had the #4 notes up hrs ago!!! neener

Thanks for taking the time to post all these. I very much appreciate them.
Tom

Thanks for the notes, Loren. I enjoyed this seminar a lot too. Some very tasty lighter whites - many of them not easy to find in the US but the prices are terrific for the quality, mostly ranging from $12-25.

You sure about this wine’s name? I know the domaine but never heard of this cuvée.

They do a great old vines mourvèdre (cuvée La Bolida), around $25, great wine.

Alain

Yes. I double checked the program plus you can find older vintages on Wine Searcher. But, they may just use the last part, I am not sure about that.

^ Actually I just did a bit of searching, and “Domaine de la Petite Cassagne” is the former name of the domaine, or it was extended to what is now Chateau d’Or et de Gueules, I’m not sure. But it’s not a cuvée, so I’m guessing the one you mention is the entry level wine.

Alain

Apparetly, Diane de Puymorin bought Domaine de la Petite Cassagne and changed the name, but bottles a red, white, and rose wine under the old labels as well as the wines under the new Chateau d’Or et de Gueules name.

-Al

Yes, this is the entry level wine.

This was the only early-Saturday-morning HdR tasting I can recall where attendance “at the starting bell” was over 90% of that at the Friday seminars. Which might have more to do with attendees learning to pace themselves; but speaks well of their enthusiasm to try and enjoy new things. Any grumbling was very scattered.

This was never going to be “Blinded by the Whites – deux” but was very worthwhile. Back in the late '90s when I represented Kacher wines, the Grande Cassagne blanc was a pretty decent seller. Now it doesn’t even show on his website. Good on these folks for coming over and making the effort.