Costières de Nîmes is an extraordinary wine region nestled between France’s southern Rhône and Languedoc appellations. And the best wines from the Costières de Nîmes tell a sensory story about this privileged geography, delivering value reminiscent of their neighbours in Languedoc to the west, while showcasing rustic garrigue-inspired complexity with bold, rich and ripe fruit flavours. Originally classified as a part of the Languedoc, growers in the Costières de Nîmes banded together in the late 80s to have their wines reclassified as members of the more prestigious Rhône AOC.
This move was inspired by more than the (albeit totally understandable) desire to “premium-ize” the image of their wines. The geology and climate in Costières de Nîmes shares a remarkable amount in common with one of the southern Rhône’s most famous addresses – Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The low elevation sandy plains found in Costières de Nîmes are littered with small, smooth and eroded stones, and while the changes in elevation are less dramatic than many parts of the Rhône, the best vineyard sites are planted to gentle slopes.
The warm and gentle Mediterranean climate here in Costières de Nîmes offers the ideal growing conditions for grape varieties like Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, and is a marked counterpoint to the strong winds and frequent storms rolling in off the Mediterranean Sea. And, of course, the importance of “garrigue” – or the wild aromatic herbs, trees and shrubs that grow wild in the region – is crucial to the complexity and character of these wines. From wild floral aromas of rosemary and thyme to mentholated eucalyptus and pine, there is no doubt that the flavours of the countryside find a way into the wines themselves.
About 20km outside of the ancient village of Nîmes, we come upon one of the most prolific and important addresses in the Costières de Nîmes. Mas des Bressades is a sixth generation family winery, with deep roots in the stony hillsides of this magnificent wine region. Embracing the best of modern technology and traditional winemaking methods – in both the vineyard and cellar – Mas des Bressades walks a careful balance, producing wines for the modern international market, with a nod to their ancestral heritage.
The 2015 Cuvée Tradition red from Mas des Bressades is simply stunning. Simply put, you’d be hard pressed to find more complexity, personality and authenticity in a wine sold at this price. Comprised of 55% Grenache and 45% Syrah, this is southern French wine as we like it best – full-flavoured, balanced, spicy and complex with juicy red and black berry fruit flavours. This is infinitely drinkable red wine, and with BBQ season rapidly approaching, you’re going to want to stock up. A perfect pairing with burgers or chops, this wine goes to the next level when matched up with Rosemary rubbed lamb chops off the grill.
Producer: Mas des Bressades
Wine: Cuvée Tradition Rouge Costières de Nîmes
LCBO #: 143099