Sunday, July 14, 2019

La Nerthe Côtes du Rhône Les Cassagnes Rose

Château La Nerthe Côtes du Rhône Villages Les Cassagnes Rose 2018 

We just confirmed our reservation for our visit to Château La Nerthe in Châteauneuf-du-Pape during our trip to the Southern Rhône the end of this month. We're excited to return to the Château that was one of the highlights to our trip to Châteauneuf-du-Pape back in 1998.

Château La Nerthe is one of the oldest estates in Châteauneuf-du-Pape which dates back to 1560. The historic Château (right) was built in 1736.

Château La Nerthe was one of the first estates to bottle their own wine starting in 1784. Château La Nerthe was also one of the first estates in Châteauneuf-du-Pape to export their wine outside of France. When they pioneered the practice of de-stemming 100% of their vines in the 1800’s, Château La Nerthe was the most expensive wine from the Southern Rhône.

The estate boasts an exceptional, sloped terroir with soils of sandy-clay and a layer of large, round, well-worn galet stones which are renowned in the region. All the terroirs of Châteauneuf-du-Pape (CDP) exist at the estate and all 13 of the CDP AOC (Appellation Original Controllee) permitted primary varietals are planted. The average vine age is 40+ years old. All of the grapes are handpicked and all of the wines are estate bottled.

The property atrophied and fell into some disrepair before the Richard family in a partnership with David and Foillard negociants purchased the historic La Nerthe in 1986 with a vision and mission to restore it to its earlier eminence. They invested in the property and conducted a complete renovation of the estate and much of the vineyards were replanted. In 1991, Château La Nerthe expanded their holdings with the purchase of 54 acres of vineyards creating one of the largest estates in the Southern Rhône with 222 acres under vine.

Starting with the 2015 vintage, Ralph Garcin was placed in charge of the estate and its winemaking.
A native of Provence, he grew up in a wine family with vineyards. He earned a degree in winemaking and agricultural engineering in Montpellier. He started his career in the Northern Rhône as assistant winemaker and buyer at M.Chapoutier. He spent time exploring new world international winemaking abroad in both Australia and Oregon. Returning to France, he became Technical Director and Head Winemaker for the Southern Rhône operations at the Burgundy-based company Boisset. After five years he joined Paul Jaboulet Ainé as Winemaker and Buyer. From there he joined Château La Nerthe as Managing Director and Winemaker.

In preparation for our visit, we're revisiting several of their labels that we hold in our cellar or, in this case, have picked up their current releases of labels we have not experienced before.

Château La Nerthe Côtes du Rhône Villages Les Cassagnes Rose 2018

We have just this summer started exploring rose wines and were delighted to find this Les Cassagnes Rose label from Château La Nerthe. This is sourced and produced in the Côtes du Rhône Villages appellation which is adjacent to Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

This Rose wine is a blend of Châteauneuf-du-Pape varietals with 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Carignan. 

The fruits for this label are sourced from Côtes du Rhône Villages, the region and districts on the slopes and foothills above the Southern Rhône Valley beyond Châteauneuf-du-Pape where rosé wine varietals  are produced. 

This Cotes-du-Rhone rosé is crafted from 30+ year old vineyards planted in soils rich with calcareous sandstone and positioned on gently undulating slopes for optimal sun exposure.

The Côtes du Rhône Villages AOC rules for the proportion of the primary, supplemental and accessory grape varieties in the blend for AOC authorized wines are:
  • White wines: a minimum of 80% of the main grape varieties.
  • Red and rosé wines:
    • The main grape variety (Grenache noir) must make up at least 50%.
    • The supplementary grape varieties Syrah and Mourvèdre together must make up at least 20% of the blend.
    • The main and supplementary grape varieties must together make up at least 80% of the blend.
    • The accessory grape varieties are restricted to a maximum of 20% of the blend.
Winemaker Notes for this wine: "The color is rust orange pale pink fuchsia, very bright. The nose is frank, lively, expressive, on white flowers and citrus fruits (pink grapefruit). The palate is fresh and the gooseberry meets again the grapefruit. A wine of great freshness and easy pleasure!"

This is an easy drinking refreshing wine for the hot days of mid-summer. It shows bright pink fuscia color, medium body, expressive forward flavors of pear and peach are accented by floral and citrus notes and hints of gooseberry and spices on the full flavorful finish. 

RM 89 points.