Vinopolpick Thursday – St Cosme

June 19, 2014

Chateau de Saint Cosme 

“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 AdvocateThe 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 Arriving Next WeekChateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas 2012 ($44.95) $38 special, 3+ cases arriving
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 Hominis Fides 2012 ($119.95) $89 special, 24 bottles arriving
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, 36 bottles arriving
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, 12 bottles arriving
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.”

Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Valbelle 2012 ($79.95) $66 special, 36 bottles arriving
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 Cotes du Rhone Les Deux Albion 2012 ($24.95) $21.90 special, 3+ cases arriving

Chateau de Saint Cosme Wines Available Here Now

Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Le Claux 2011 ($89.95) $59 special, 11 bottles available
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 2011 ($59.95) $47 special, 20 bottles available
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 Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010 1.5L ($119.95) $99 special, 2 magnums available
Wine Spectator 96 points 
“Densely packed, with a core of baker’s chocolate, espresso, bay, licorice root, black currant preserves and steeped fig. A strong, almost rigid charcoal spine carries the finish, surrounded by ample flesh, lingering minerality and a smoldering feel. A backward, old-school version built for long cellaring. Best from 2017 through 2030.” WS
Robert Parker 94 points “The 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape (a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah and 10% Cinsault) comes from two lieux-dits, La Crau and Valori. It exhibits a deep plum/purple color as well as sweet aromas of kirsch, cassis, licorice and lavender. Richly fruity and pure with low acidity and terrific purity, it should drink well for 10-12 years. “RP

Chateau de Saint Cosme Condrieu 2011 ($69.95) $54 special, 8 bottles available
Josh Raynolds 92 points 
“Pale gold.  Pungent aromas of pear nectar, nectarine, honey and quinine, with a suave floral quality in the background.  Juicy, penetrating pit and orchard fruit flavors show good intensity, brightened by a bitter citrus pith quality.  Suave and highly floral, finishing with excellent, mineral-driven persistence.”

Chateau de Saint Cosme Crozes-Hermitage 2010 ($29.95) $24 special, 10 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 90 points
 “Vivid purple.  Dark berries, smoked meat and anise on the highly perfumed nose.  Spicy, suave, vibrant syrah, with sweet black raspberry, spice and pepper flavors that show impressive energy. Finishes pure and fresh, with a fine dusting of tannins and strong peppery persistence.”

Chateau de Saint Cosme Crozes-Hermitage 2011 ($29.95) $24 special, 1 bottle available
Wine Advocate 90 points
 “Coming all from hillside plots, the 2011 Crozes Hermitage is another outstanding effort from Barruol. More mineral-driven, with ample crushed rock, blackberry, creme de cassis, game and spice, it is up-front and fruit-loaded on the palate. Despite the up-front nature here, it has solid mid-palate concentration and fine tannin, as well as superb overall balance, all suggesting it should evolve gracefully too. Drink it over the coming 7-8 years.”

Other Gigondas Wines Here Now 

Domaine Bertrand Stehelin Gigondas 2011 ($37.95) $30.90 special, 22 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 88-90 points 
“Ruby-red. Pungent, smoky cherry and dark berry aromas are complemented by notes of cracked pepper and Indian spices. Exotic black cardamom and clove notes add complexity to deep cherry and cassis flavors, with zesty minerality providing lift. The finish shows good power and a firm, tannic edge.”

Aline Bonfils Domaine du Gour de Chaule Gigondas Tradition 2010 ($37.95) $33 special, 10 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 93-94 points
 “Vivid purple. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes red and dark berry preserves, pit fruits, potpourri and smoky garrigue. Stains the palate with intense black raspberry and cherry flavors that pick up an exotic floral pastille nuance with air. Rich but lithe, with excellent finishing clarity and gentle tannic grip.”

Vignobles Brunier Domaine Les Pallieres Gigondas Terrasses du Diable 2010 1.5L ($119.95) $99 special, 5 magnums available
Stephen Tanzer 93 points
 “Bright ruby-red. A complex, heady bouquet evokes candied red fruits, potpourri and Asian spices. Silky and seamless in texture, offering vibrant raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and an exotic touch of blood orange. Anise and herb notes come up with air and carry through a long, bright and focused finish. I underestimated this sexy wine last year.”

Domaine Santa Duc Gigondas Grand Grenache 66 2009 ($99.95) $79 special, 4 bottles available
Robert Parker 94-96 points
 “The newest cuvee, the 2009 Grand Grenache 66 (16.2% alcohol) is a tiny cuvee bursting with kirsch liqueur, lavender, licorice and spice box. This is a stunning example of Grenache at its best, with wonderful freshness, and for Grenache afficionados, this is one to buy and drink over the next 15 or so years.”

Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Les Souteyrades 2011 ($36.95) $29 special, 4 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 91 points 
“Vivid red.  Highly perfumed aromas of candied red fruits and lavender, with a deeper cherry pit quality gaining power with aeration.  Sweet and seamless on the palate, offering juicy raspberry and boysenberry flavors complicated by sassafras and allspice.  In an exotic style, with plenty of upfront appeal.  Finishes sappy and long, with gentle tannins adding grip.”