Costières de Nîmes

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Costières de Nîmes, the generally reliable and well-priced southernmost appellation of the rhône. In French wine politics, it used to be considered part of the eastern languedoc but the climate, soil, topography—and wines—are closer to those just over the river in the southern Côtes du Rhône vineyards.

The relatively uniform soils are marked by large pebbles on gentle, typically south-facing slopes. A total of 25,000 ha/62,000 acres of land on the edge of the Camargue could qualify to produce wine for this appellation, and by 2013 4,193 ha/10,357 acres were dedicated to the production of appellation wine, about half of it red, and most of the rest rosé. This is an important zone for the production of igp wine. As in the nearby southern Rhône, Grenache is an important vine variety here and, with Mourvèdre and Syrah, must represent at least 60% of any red, with the last two constituting at least 20%. Carignan is in retreat, and Marselan may not represent more than 10%. This is an appellation in transition, not just geographically between the Languedoc and the Rhône, but temporally between being a bulk wine producer and a source of genuinely characterful, well-made wines. co-operatives are less important here than in most of the Languedoc and most of the development and experimentation is taking place on dynamic, smaller estates.