Hope you met our friend Michel Gassier when he was at B-21 this winter, you know he’s as sunny as Provence itself. If not you’ll love meeting him in the wines I’m offering to you French buyers who look beyond Burgundy and Bordeaux. They certainly make Parker smile. Gassier puts all the sun and rocky terroir of Provence into his wines. And on them too with names like Nostre Pais (“our land” in the Provencal dialect) and playful pictures of the Provencal and their symbols like the icon of Nimes, the crocodile. More important Gassier and his wines have serious roots in the Costieres de Nimes and the Cotes du Rhone. When we met him at his place in Nimes this year, he was eager to show us all around, from the seaview vineyards to the old Roman amphitheatre in the city. He loves Grenache, red and white, and thinks the grapes are as noble as they are indigenous. For him and his consultant, Philippe Cambie (I hope you met him too) Grenache is the soul of the south. That really shows in his Cericus wines, where Grenache Blanc makes very distinct full bodied whites, flavored with flowers, ripe pears and cinnamon and a bright mineral tang. I have ’09 and ’10 of Cercius blanc; get both and you’ll see that the wine gods smiled on the Rhone back to back. His richest blanc is the ’09 Nostre Pais, which he ferments carefully, half in barrel and half in cement. A coupla dollars more but a honey of a wine. If you’d rather red, Gassier’s show off big CdR Grenache rouge from Visan is a deep dark red with black fruit, spice and fresh minerality. Wish I had a lamb sandwich or a bowl of bouillabaisse right now. Have them priced at $15 or less so you can be as carefree as a day in Provence. You’re gonna want that.
2009 Cercius Blanc Costieres de Nimes
“Light straw-colored with a greenish hue, it exhibits attractive freshness along with plenty of melony fruit intermixed with honeyed citrus, white currants, and flowers. Medium-bodied and long, with some underlying minerality intertwined with its delightful fruit character…” 90 Points, Robert Parker’s WA
2010 Cercius Blanc Costieres de Nimes
2009 Cercius Cotes du Rhone Villages Visan
“This medium to full-bodied wine possesses a deep ruby/purple color in addition to copious black currant and black cherry fruit interwoven with graphite, crushed rocks, and spice, excellent fruit intensity, a full-bodied mouthfeel, good acidity, and light tannins…” 91 Points, Robert Parker’s WA
2009 Michel Gassier Nostre Pais Blanc Costieres de Nimes
“a more honeyed, richer, fuller-bodied effort with plenty of texture as well as beautifully pure notes of quince, white currants, flowers, and an unmistakable minerality. Half of the wine is barrel fermented and the other half is aged in concrete. This fresh, textured beauty exhibits structure, purity, and length…” 91 Points, Robert Parker’s WA