2015 Le Clairon Des Anges Costières De Nîmes AOP, Rhône Valley, France (Alcohol 13.5%) LCBO Vintages $13.95 (750ml bottle)
I wrote about this bargain red last week in my piece about the wines of the Rhône, but felt that it deserved its own space with a Try This column, as it’s such a great wine to stock up on for the holidays, and it’s General List so you can find it EVERYWHERE. After that tasting I organised, this has become my go-to “house” wine for the past 10 days, as you’d be seriously hard pushed to find a better value red than this. At $13.95 it’s superb for larger parties too, as you can keep everyone vinously happy without breaking the bank.
I’ve thought for many a year that the Costières De Nîmes appellation consistently offers up some of the best value wines in the whole of France. Located just south of the city of Nîmes, it’s a relatively young appellation, only hailing back to 1986. Back then it was known as Costières Du Gard, but then after three years it was changed to Costières De Nîmes. Confusingly, despite being the southernmost appellation of the Rhône valley it often produces some of the region’s freshest and brightest wines, no doubt in part due to the huge temperature fluctuations between the days and nights there.
This light-medium-bodied blend of Grenache, Syrah and a touch of Mourvèdre delivers on both palate and nose; it’s deliciously crunchy and juicy, with bags of ripe red fruit (red cherries, raspberries), and soft, supple tannins. There’s also a bit of peppery spice and anise in there. What’s not to like? I’ve found this to be a tremendous crowd-pleaser, especially when it’s chilled down a bit. And that lifted, fresh acid profile makes it a great foil for all manner of dishes… and it does go rather well with turkey, if the truth be told.
(Four apples out of a possible five)
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he sees a lot of this wine in his near future.