Chateau de Nages Buti Nages Nimes Rouge 2014

What the heck is a buti nages? And where the heck is Costières de Nîmes? And why do so many people confuse this wine with the rose by the same producer?

Wine, eh? So many questions.

According to the bottle, buti nages means to gather nectar, a wholesome metaphor, no?

More interesting is the story of the Costières de Nîmes AOC. Beginning life as part of Languedoc didn’t fit this determined child, which felt much more at home as a member of the Rhone family; grape types, wine style, soil composition and all that. In addition, proximity to the Med means – tadah!- sea breezes, and we all know what that can do, looking at you, New Zealand.

Think of this AOC as a kind of Rhone on summer seaside vacation.

75% grenache, 20% syrah and 5% mouvedre tells you where we’re heading. More fruit than tobacco, the nose is still a welcoming combination of the floral grenache and dry syrah – a sort of dried herbs and just-dead flower-petal dynamic. A just right dryness on the palate with soft fruit is still held together with clearly defined acids. One imagines this is the French version of “easy drinking”, one horrible convolution in both word and deed, but accurate for our purposes.

Living midway between pinot noir and syrah in the body/color stakes, grenache punches in a higher weight class than its color and translucence suggests. That’s why the blending works so well – it’s like adding wings to a race car to tweak the aerodynamics and create a winner.

One wonders why people buy those Californian blends with enormous alcohol and sloppy definition when there’s this for the same price..a question that answers itself.

$11.99 and a delight.