Sine Sole Nihil: There is Nothing Without Sunshine

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  • By Renée Lorraine
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Sine Sole Nihil: There is Nothing Without Sunshine

Sun, Wind, Rhône, and Stones. A recent visit and chat with François Collard - owner and winemaker of Château Mourgues du Grès in Costière-de-Nîmes — reminded me of the brilliant economy and precision of the word “terroir.”

Sun, Wind, Rhône, and Stones

A recent visit and chat with François Collard - owner and winemaker of Château Mourgues du Grès in Costière-de-Nîmes — reminded me of the brilliant economy and precision of the word “terroir”.

 Sun, stones, and wind define the fruit in François’ wine: more than 2,500 hours of sunshine ripen the fruit. Large, rounded surface stones —  and deeper layers of clay — allow for perfect drainage after autumn downpours, and the infamous Mistral blows the vines dry.

A veteran oenologist of Bordeaux’s legendary Ch. Lafite-Rothschild, François returned home 25 years ago to produce wine at his family’s estate which is named after the Ursulines nuns who owned the property until the French Revolution. In the provencal language, Mourgues is “nuns” and Grès means pebbles.

François uses no oak, he says, to allow the pure expression of fruit and minerality, hallmarks of Costières-de-Nîmes wine.

I was captivated by the precision and true sense of place expressed in François’ wines.

Below, a snapshot of my tasting notes.

Les Galets Dorés Blanc 2013. Vermentino, Grenache Blanc, Roussane; (F. says “Vermentino” instead French word Rolle - he said it sounds nicer:) Pale yellow, with flashes of gold; medium-bodied but crisp, fresh. Lovely citrus with hints of flowers on the nose.

Les Galets Rosés 2013. Syrah w/ a touch of Grenache; saignée. Watermelon pink. Fabulous raspberry nose that is delivered on the palate. Scrumptious!

Les Galets Rouge 2012. Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Marselan, Carignan; Syrah dominates. Deep purple- grape lollipop purple w/ hints of ruby red. Aromas and flavors of ripe summer raspberries and blackberries. Stony minerality and fresh acidity. Bargain!

Terre d’Argence Rouge 2013. Old vine Syrah, Carignan and Grenache. Syrah dominates. Deep, deep blackish purple. Full bodied. Incredible notes of anise on the nose. Perfect for fans of “garrigue”. F. Says 2013 is millésime à garder - vintage to keep, 8 years conservatively. Value.

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