Costières de Nimes: France’s "Lost" Wine Region Makes a Comeback
An expert sommelier shares what’s new from this off-the-beaten-path French wine region
Costières de Nimes… never heard of it? You’re not alone. Most people don’t know about this little abandoned wine region of France, but it shouldn’t be considered “new.” Costières de Nimes, located in the southernmost part of the Rhône Valley, has been around longer than France herself, although its wine is just now starting to get people’s attention. Until its AOC adoption in 1989, it was once considered part of the Languedoc region in Southern France.
What makes this region unique is the fact that it has set many records within the French wine industry. Currently, 22% of the grapes grown there are organic and nearly 40% of the wine they make is rosé. The region produces much of the well-known and beloved Rhône Valley varietals, including syrah and grenache, with red and white blends, and lots of rosés.
The Rhône Valley has been known to break barriers and adapt to the modern wine industry quicker than any other region. Costières de Nimes also sets a record with nearly 40% of their wines being exported. This region is actually the biggest face of the Rhone Valley in China, with the United States being the second largest importer of their wines.
Chances are you have tried some wine from there in the past, most likely in an inexpensive French Vin de Pays table wine. Until recently, most of the grapes grown were used for bulk wine with the Vin de Pays wine label. However, winegrowers knew their wines were worth much more. Combining their expert viticulture and winemaking skills with marketing execution has allowed the region to be recognized as a quality designation. They are still making a name for themselves, but it is understandably difficult going up against the ever-competitive global wine market and the “Big Dog” regions of France.
Bottles to try:
2014 Chateau Mas Neuf Rhone Paradox Costieres de Nimes Rouge ($14) is a red blend that has astonishing ripe raspberry, strawberry jam, and floral qualities that make this wine pop!
2015 Chateau de Campuget 1753 Syrah ($19) is a 100% Rhône syrah with no oak treatments, giving it very intense fruit characters with hints of smoke and dark chocolate.
2013 Tenet Le Fervent Syrah Costières de Nimes ($22) is almost black in color with equally intense flavors of black plum, boysenberry liqueur, and cocoa.
2011 Chateau de Campuget La Sommeliere ($30) has very strong aromas of dark red and black fruits, spices, and cocoa.
2013 Michel Gassier Lou Coucardie Blanc ($30) is a very dense-bodied white Rhone blend with aromas of beeswax, violet, vanilla, and sweet spices.
Also, ff you are looking for something similar to these, try these award-winning wines from the 8th Annual New York International Wine Competition. Two double gold winners— IGP Cantharos 2014 Grenache and this Barossa Valley Wine Company 2014 Rhône style blend will be right up your alley if you enjoy Rhone wines.