Costières de Nîmes Wine
The countryside around Nîmes in the Rhône delta has been a significant area of viticulture since Roman times when legionaries returning from campaigns in Africa were rewarded with parcels of land to cultivate in retirement. It was these sun-kissed servicemen that gave the city (ergo, the appellation), its 'crocodile and palm tree' logo evoking the Egyptian exotica they brought home after the battle of Actium in 31 BC. Free-draining alluvial soils, a long, sunny ripening season and the pest-depleting Mistral wind combine to create great growing conditions but (happily) prices remain highly competitive.
Guillaume Molinier represents the fifth generation of his family to make wine at Château Roubaud outside the village of Vauvert on the edge of the Camargue. The primary focus here (and in the appellation as a whole) is on red wine and Guillaume's 'Cuvée Plaisir', sports a wonderful Art Deco label by Léon Dupin. It is a fine example of the good quality and competitive prices that the region can offer. Made from a blend of 30% each of Syrah, Grenache Noir and Carignan along with 10% Cinsault, it has a deep purple robe, stewed dark berry aromas and a core of ripe autumnal fruit with peppery undertones and fine-grained tannins. A sibling rosé is a blend of Syrah, Grenache Noir, Cinault and Grenache Blanc that has a limpid 'onion skin' hue, crushed raspberry scents and a savoury summer pudding palate with an elegant dry finish. Completing the range is a finely-crafted white wine - made from 60% Roussanne and 40% Grenache Blanc - that has a bouquet of apricot with hints of thyme and myrtle and a wealth of yellow stone fruit flavours underscored by cooling mineral notes. It doesn't demand food accompaniment but makes a fantastic partner to the local speciality brandade de morue.