Of all the appellations in France’s vast Rhône Valley, Costières de Nîmes is among the more obscure and least celebrated. But the area, which is the Rhône’s southernmost appellation and borders Languedoc, offers some excellent wines and great values.
One of them is from Château de Campuget, the “1753” Syrah 2016. At around $18, it is a step above the winery’s less expensive offerings in terms of quality and interest. The “1753” refers to the date on a document found on the property mentioning the vineyards, and it’s a reminder of the long history of winemaking in France and other “Old World” European wine regions.
The 1753 Syrah is among the best under-$20 values I’ve tasted this year, and it called to mind far more prestigious and expensive Syrahs from appellations in the northern Rhône where the grape is the dominant variety.
In Costières de Nîmes, Syrah is often blended with Grenache, Mourvèdre, and other varieties, but Campuget’s 1753 line is mainly comprised of single-variety wines (there is also a Grenache and a white Viognier).
The 2016 Syrah is a beautiful example of the variety in its purest form. Made without oak aging, it is fruit-driven but complex, with notes of blackberry and black cherry and touches of leather, tobacco, and dark chocolate. All of it is supported by fairly robust tannins.
This versatile wine will pair exquisitely with all kinds of meats, from grilled leg of lamb and pork chops to hamburgers. With alcohol at 13.5 percent, it hits my wine sweet spot — big enough to carry its weight with hearty foods, but with enough charm and delicious fruit to make you look forward to the next sip, and the next.