Nîmes, France, cork seal, $118
Nîmes gets a pretty good rap by travel guide writers; it's where denim originated, has the best preserved Roman ruins in France and the most sunny days. Yet for years I went through life muttering an expletive just prior to the word "Nimes" as "f!$king* Nimes" was also home to an ugly industrial estate where my broken van was once towed. On my last visit to France I made my peace with Nîmes and thought it time to give their wine a go. Purchased from Marks and Spencer this is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache from the Costières de Nîmes AOC. I lost the photos I took of this wine so included a couple of the great town instead.
Chateau de Surville Costières de Nîmes 2006 is a magnificent deep purple colour. It smells like blackberries and black currents, with rich gameness just under the surface. There are secondary aromas of dusty coco powder, something medicinal and rich oak. This has vibrant cola, spice, pepper and red fruit (cherry and cranberry) flavours. I don't want to describe this as jammy as it's not sweet or sticky, but it's got a certain richness that suggests jam; maybe it's more like a chutney or even HP Sauce? There are firm tannins that kept things puckering along nicely and the 14% alcohol is perfectly integrated. I like this; it's a nice, easy drinking wine that's certainly more pleasurable than an old Japanese car breaking down in France.