In my 35 years of wine writing I have never lost faith in Cotes du Rhone. Vastly underrated for its power and easily dismissed as a poor cousin of Chateauneuf du Pape, this AOC blend often over-performs.
I was reminded of this last night when I eagerly opened a bottle of 2016 Chateau de Saint-Cosme “Les Deux Albion” Cotes du Rhone. It was a stunner for $22 — worthy of buying more for my cellar. I’ve tasted gigondas from this Rhone Valley property and have found the producer to be reliable across the board. But this simple red blend rocked my senses.
The wine is a class blend of syrah (50 percent), grenache, carignan, mouvedre and clairette from three Cotes-du-Rhone-Villages communes. The whole clusters are co-fermented with indigenous yeasts and vinified in conical wooden vats and concrete tanks for 18 months.
The result is a wine with dark color, dense structure, complexity and huge garrigue and floral aromas. On the palate the flavors range from black cherries to plums with some nice spice tossed in. It can easily age for 3 years or more, which makes it a great wine to put away for the short-term.