France is the world’s largest wine producer, and while they are quite famous for producing some of the most expensive and highest quality wines, they are also known to churn out a plethora of much cheaper and simpler bottles. I am a fan of cheap and simple, as long as it tastes good. Enthusiastically I’ll scan the French wine shelves and find numerous bottles that in addition to being budget friendly have glowing descriptions on their labels that will entice me to purchase them. Once poured, the wine tastes absolutely nothing like the promises on the label, I’m left irritated and don’t make it back to the French section again until a bottle specifically grabs my attention.
This is how I picked up a bottle of Château d’Or et de Gueules 2007 [Les Cimels]. It was an advertised, on sale, new arrival at my local wine shop. The label was not traditionally French-like in design and the description was brief, but I thought I’d give it a go nevertheless. Once I opened the bottle, I had the sneaking suspicion that I should let the air get at it for a bit. About an hour later, aromas of blackcurrant jam on toast was rising out of the deep garnet in my glass. The medium to almost full body percolated with cherry and plum flavours. Rhubarb and vegetal notes glided underneath the fruit and rounded out each sip. There was a little bit of a hot alcohol bite, but then spicy black pepper and leather notes emerged and successfully lengthened and mellowed the finish out. Although not really complex, I enjoyed how dense the flavours were, and was grateful for the rustic simplicity in each sip. I’m back to being a believer that fantastic, budget friendly French wines really are attainable, with just a little bit of investigative effort.
Costières de Nîmes
45% Syrah, 35% Carignan, 20% Grenache
Costières de Nîmes
Vignoble de la Vallée du Rhône