Chateau de Saint Cosme – a reference point for Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre blends

These classic Rhone and Sud de France blends have re-captured my attention in recent months beginning with a Gerard Bertrand tasting this summer, then with an eye-popping visit to Herman Story in Paso Robles last month.  Russell From’s Herman Story wines are stunning, like the 2010 “Larner” Syrah and Grenache blend (234 cases) and also the single-varietal “On the Road” Grenache (444 cases) and “Nuts and Bolts” Syrah (792 cases).  All of his wines retail for $42.  His wines are super clean, allowing the purity of fruit to shine through, and the consistency of quality across the board was memorable.  I asked From where he gets his inspirations from, and when this garagiste winemaker in a re-purposed warehouse in Downtown Paso Robles said Chateau de Saint Cosme, I gasped loudly, startling everyone around me.

Of course!  Never has a winemaker’s reference point made such perfect sense as the memories flooded back.

Chateau de Saint Cosme is one of my favorite Rhone winemakers based on a trip in 2009 as I reported in this blog post.  The sun, the moon and the stars align at Chateau de Saint Cosme and everything about it – from the 14 generations of winemaking, the aura of Roman relics, the organic vineyards, old vines and dynamic, blinding white limestone soils – contribute to insanely pure, perfectly balanced wines.  In fact, winemaker Louis Barruol changed the way I looked at the wines of Gigondas and the Southern Rhone.

Is it destiny that Chateau de Saint Cosme would again catch my attention in Wine Spectator’s Top 10 wines of the year published yesterday?   Saint Cosme’s 2010 Gigondas ($41) was #2, having risen from #10 just last year.  My favorite wine of Chateau de Saint Cosme was in fact the Gigondas, as you tell from the well-poured bottle during that trip.

The Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas 2010 is  60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 18% Mourvèdre and 2% Cinsault and a benchmark worth recommending, especially given the excellent vintage.

Gigondas and food

Rhone blends are great with beef and lamb.  Below are a couple dishes from Les Florets Restaurant in Gigondas, the first a terrine of beef and fois gras with purple potatoes, shallot compote and Syrah gelee on the plate.

 Below is a Duo of Lamb, the Tatin is with eggplant.  Served with creamed artichoke made with thyme oil.