“Without a doubt, the leading estate in Gigondas is Louis Barruol’s Chateau Saint-Cosme. Located just outside the village, he releases an assortment of world class Gigondas, as well as a number of value priced, negotiate-styled Cotes du Rhone efforts that always deliver high-quality (these are normally released under his Saint-Cosme label and do not say Chateau Saint-Cosme). Both 2011 and 2012 are incredibly strong here and readers should not miss these wines!” Jebb Dunnuck in The Wine Advocate
The Saint Cosme estate is located in the heart of Gigondas in the Southern Rhone. The Chateau at the center of estate was built in the 16th century over the remains of a Gallo-Roman era villa and wine cellar. The family retained much of the original stonework, including the winemaking vats carved into the stone cellar that date from the 2nd century. The Chateau is surrounded by 37 acres of old-vine vineyard land. It is no surprise that the vines average an impressive 60 years in age, coming from an estate that was founded in 1490 and saw 14 successive generations of the Barruol family manage it. The estate is in the middle of two geological faults, resulting in a wide variety of soil types. The microclimate is quite cool for the region; grapes are usually harvested later than other estates in the area.
In 1995, Louis Barruol took over from his father, Henri. He expanded the business to include a negociant label for Rhone Valley wines. He takes a very active role in managing the vineyards, personally overseeing pruning, ripening and harvests. He oversaw the expansion of the wine cellar in 2007 into ancient Roman tunnels. Instead of destroying them to make room for a modern cellar, he saw the value in their longevity and ability to maintain the ideal humitidy and temperature for aging wine.
From the family-owned vineyards that line the foothills of the Dentelles-de-Montmirail mountains, Barruol produces several Gigondas wines. These wines are powerful and rich with a striking elegance. The Le Poste vineyard surrounds the estate’s chapel and was replanted by Louis’ father Henri in 1963. It is composed of several parcels of Grenache and one of Clairette. The vineyard was one the first purchased by the family in 1490 along with the estate. The soil is limestone yellow mall with many fossils. The winemaker writes that this vineyard makes the most feminine and elegant wine of the estate. Le Claux and the Hominis Fides vineyards were first recognized in 1902. Le Claux, planted in 1870, was scheduled to be ripped out in 1914 because the vines no longer produced large yields. The War and several deaths in the family prevented its destruction. The soil is yellow limestone clay and gravel. Now Le Claux is celebrated for its old vines that produce tiny, concentrated yields. It produces the most Burgundian character, with finesse and complexity. The Hominis Fides vineyard is composed of the oldest vines in the estate. It is made of sandy limestone soil that the winemaker believes help contribute to the fine tannins in the Grenache. It is their “most deep and enigmatic wine.”
Chateau de Saint Cosme Wines – Available Now
Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone 2013 1.5 LITER ($29.95) $21.90 special From the winery “The syrah from Vinsobres and from the Terrasses Villafranchiennes of the Gard give this year remarkable results. Be ready to taste this year a Côtes du Rhône full of fruit and fresh aromas, with a nice tight texture. It will be “interesting” to propose this wine as a blind taste to your friends (or your ennemies !!) to get them wrong. It is possible that a few of them think that this syrah comes from Cornas or Crozes-Hermitage.. It is my pleasure to offer every year a wine of this quality at a reasonable level of price. ”
Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone Les Deux Albion 2012 ($24.95) $21.90 special From the winery “It looks like month after month that 2012 is, for the domaines which work well, an excellent vintagewhich won’t stop surprising us. Its magnificent style recalls the great “cool” Gigondas wines. The superiority of 2012 relatively to 2011 becomes more obvious every day. Deux Albion 2012 is a perfect image of this reality: its texture and its depth recall the 2010. Co-fermented in concrete vats as usual, it develops a good density, good colour and a length that reminds of a great vintage. 80% of the cuvée was aged in concrete vat, which says a lot about the ability of the wines from our region to be “self-suficient”.. In fact, this is in the concrete vats that Deux Albions gets the best expression. Its fruit full of terroir develops its own truth with freedom. The work of the vigneron is to understand what the best technical way for its terroir, and then add to his work a search of beauty.”
Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas 2012 ($44.95) $38 special Wine Advocate 90-92 points “Moving to the releases in barrel, the 2012 Gigondas (60% Grenache and the balance mostly Mourvedre, with some Syrah) has plenty of potential, with juicy black raspberry, sweet spice, licorice and toasty notes as well as medium to full-bodied richness and depth on the palate. Nicely balanced, it shows the purity of the vintage, as well as a relatively approachable style that should allow it to drink nicely on release.”
Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Valbelle 2011($59.95)$47 special Robert Parker 90-93+ points “The amazing 2011 Gigondas Valbelle illustrates what a strong vintage Louis Barruol produced in this more challenging harvest. Deep berry fruit, melted licorice, camphor, white chocolate, boysenberry, blackberry and smoked duck-like characteristics are found in this rich, full-throttle red. Consume it over the next decade.”
Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Le Claux 2011 ($89.95) $59 special Wine Spectator 95 points “Delivers a blaze of cassis, steeped plum and blackberry fruit, tightly coiled with chalky minerality and backed by lilting bergamot, rooibos tea and blood orange notes. Shows great grip on the finish, with acidity-driven cut and precision. The better of two bottles tasted. Best from 2015 through 2030. 375 cases made.”
Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Valbelle 2012($79.95)$66 special Wine Advocate 92-94 points “A bigger, richer effort, the 2012 Gigondas Valbelle is brilliant! Seamless, full-bodied, rich and beautifully textured, as well as with considerable structure, it offers notions of creamy raspberry, creme de cassis, toast and licorice in its impressive, layered personality. It got a big “Wow” in the notes and should be a wine to grab up on release.”
Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Hominis Fides 2012 ($119.95) $89 special Wine Advocate 93-96 points “Despite coming from sandy soils, the 2012 Gigondas Hominis Fides has a masculine, structured and almost burly profile. Underbrush, black raspberry, crushed rock, pepper and black licorice are just some of the notions here, and it hits the palate with full-bodied authority and richness. I expect it will flesh out nicely once in bottle, but it should still warrant 2-3 years in the cellar and have the capacity to keep for 20 years.”
Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Le Claux 2012 ($119.95) $89 special Wine Advocate 93-96 points “More aromatic and complex compared to the Valbelle, the 2012 Gigondas Le Claux exhibits notions of potpourri, leather, graphite and flowers to go with a full-bodied, elegant and pure profile on the palate. It too doesn’t lack for fruit or structure and should have 15-20 years of ultimate longevity.”
Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Le Poste 2012 ($119.95) $99 special Wine Advocate 94-97 points “The 2012 Gigondas Le Poste might just be the star of the three single vineyards in 2012. More fine and elegant, with thrilling lavender, flowers, forest floor and sweet berry fruit, it is full-bodied, seamless and carries masses of fine tannin in its pure, refined texture. Gorgeous all around, it too should have upward of two decades of longevity.”