A Taste of the Southern Rhône

A Taste of the Southern Rhône

Find out what makes the vineyards of Costières de Nîmes special.

Nîmes, Occitanie’s easternmost metropolis, has a beautifully preserved Roman amphitheatre which hosts one of France’s most exciting annual music festivals (Eric Clapton, among others, will perform there in May!), and its fashionable bars and bistros increasingly give those of nearby Montpellier a run for their money.

To the south and east of the city, the vineyards of Costières de Nîmes cover more than 2,800ha, spread over 40km – extending from the southern reaches of the Rhône river down to the salt lakes of the Camargue which flank the Mediterranean coast. Although Nîmes is at the eastern fringe of Languedoc, the winemakers of Costières de Nîmes made the wise decision to join the Rhône family of wine appellations when their vineyards gained AOC status in 1986.

The vineyards of Costières de Nîmes stand at the southern tip of the Rhône valley, but thanks to their proximity to the Med, torrid summer days are tempered by fresh sea breezes, making Costières de Nîmes one of the southern Rhône’s cooler winemaking areas. Soils are mainly composed of clay and limestone, strewn with the same large pebbles, or galets roulés, found in nearby appellations such as Tavel and Châteauneuf-du-Pape on the opposite bank of the Rhône.


Although Costières de Nimes is historically red wine country, all three colours are made here. Whites are made predominantly from the Grenache blanc, Roussanne and Marsanne varieties, and although they only represent nine per cent of production, are frequently excellent, showing fresh, juicy exotic fruit flavours, with a food-friendly rounded mouth-feel. Another 43 per cent is red, in which Syrah is blended mainly with Grenache and Mourvèdre (the three of which together must make up 80 per cent of any blend), giving ripe, sometimes tannic reds, with flavours of spicy dark fruits.

This close to Provence, it is no surprise that rosé has grown to represent nearly half of all Costières de Nimes. But these wines are a world away from the off-pink ethereal juice made to the east. Instead, Costières de Nîmes rosé is relatively deep in colour, pairing wonderfully with rich Mediterranean dishes a style of rosé that is experiencing a renaissance.

Costières de Nîmes is also the site of annual vineyard walk Vignes Toquées. This June, double-Michelin-starred chef Franck Putelat will prepare refined dishes to enjoy with Costières de Nimes wines along this beautiful vineyard trail.



CHOICE WINE: Costières de Nîmes Rouge ‘Cuvée Galus’ 2021

CHOICE WINE: Costières de Nîmes Rosé ‘Les Galets Rosés’ 2022

CHOICE WINE: Costières de Nîmes Blanc 2021

From France Today Magazine

Lead photo credit : © DOMINIC RIPPON

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