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Wine of the Week: 2007 Côtes du Rhône, St-Cosme

Tue Mar 24, 2009

CdR Saint CosmeThe economy looks like it’s been tied up in a plastic bag and dragged through the sewers of Wall Street Shawshank-style. When we finally emerge on the other side, things are going to look a lot different. It can be unnerving, to say the least, and downright frightening for many. I count my blessings every day that I work in the wine business. I feel like there’s some semblance of job security where I am, since when things are good people drink, but when things are bad they drink more.

It’s what people drink that seems to be changing. Wines with a high value ratio are the hot ticket item, while expensive cult bottlings are languishing on the shelves. It doesn’t phase me much, since my wine budget’s always been pretty low and one of my favorite regions, France’s Rhône Valley, is always a source for high quality wines at the lower end of the price spectrum. Even more exciting is this: the 2007 Rhônes are among the best wines the region has produced in a a generation, collector’s items. Like 2005 in Bordeaux, these are wines that you won’t want to miss and, fortunately, the wines are stellar across the spectrum.

One wine that really has me skipping like a school girl is the 2007 Côtes du Rhône, Ch. Saint Cosme, made by Louis Barruol, who makes one of my other favorite value buys, the non-vintage Little James’ Basket Press, which is predominantly Grenache. While this wine is labeled as a Côtes du Rhône because it comes from the Southern Rhône – Barruol’s St-Cosme is best known for their Gigondas – it is made entirely from Syrah, in the style of the Northern Rhône. So think of this like a baby Saint-Joseph for at least one-third the price!

The 2007 Côtes du Rhône, Ch. St-Cosme is approachable for an everyday drinker, but it’s got the structure to age a few years, too, which I like, since it’s priced for me to put some in my wine fridge to enjoy through wedding chaos (or at the wedding, hmmmm). The fruit on the nose and palate reminds me of  the wild blackberries that grow everywhere is Oregon, from well-hiked hillsides to overgrown, abandoned parking lots where the bushes are at least a foot taller than me. There’s a hint of campfire-cooked bacon and tangy red fruit that glide across your mid-palate with a wave of juicy acidity that bursts across your palate like the center of Chewels gum.The tannins are ripe, refined and well-integrated, not like the many grippy, overoaked domestic versions at this price that I avoid like the plague. While I could imagine this poured over pancakes (it’s 7 a.m. as I write, after all), this makes me think of a good cassoulet or maybe the Braised Beef I recently whipped up from A Platter of Figs.

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3 Responses to “Wine of the Week: 2007 Côtes du Rhône, St-Cosme”

  1. Phoo-D Says:

    Oooh Leah this looks right up our alley! Thank you for sharing it. We are very excited to be visiting K&L in San Fran next week and will look for this there!

  2. Alfred Peet Says:

    Thanks for the interesting and informative review.

  3. Colin Says:

    Hi Leah,

    Thanks for the review. I just finished a bottle of this and thought I’d wander around the web and see what ppl have said abt this. I noticed some of your articles draw some references from the stock market and the Dow last year, which was terrible (I work in finance..). Anyways, how is the new book going?

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