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Costières De Nîmes

Costières De Nîmes is the most southerly appellation of the Rhône wine region in southeastern France. The wines of the area are reputed to have been consumed by the Ancient Greeks and thus figure among the oldest known wines in the world. A typical Costières De Nîmes red wine, made from the classic Southern Rhône Blend, is robust and spicy, and perfectly suited to the rustic local cuisine.

The Costières De Nîmes AOC covers an area between the towns of Nîmes and Arles. Known as the Rhône Delta, this is the meeting point of the Rhône, Gard and Durance rivers before they head towards their final destination in the Mediterranean. The area also produces a great quantity of lower quality wines under various IGP titles.

While the terroirs of most Rhône wine appellations are characterised by outcrops of granite (Hermitage) or limestone (Beaumes-de-Venise) and variations in altitude, the landscapes between Nîmes and the Mediterranean Sea are relatively flat and low lying. As a result, the soils of Costières De Nîmes do not vary as much as those in other Rhône appellations, and are characterised by large pebbles on shallow, south and southeast-facing slopes. Areas of garrigue (the quintessential southern French landscape of dry, low-lying scrubland on limestone soils) are present in the eastern corners of the appellation, providing excellent potential for viticulture. When not planted with vines, this land is generally populated with rosemary, lavender and thyme, as its relatively loose, free-draining soils are poor in nutrients. These conditions are the same as those determined in the 1920s by Baron LeRoy of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, whose viticultural and oenological rules were the precursor to the modern appellation system. Free-draining soils of low fertility force vines to dig deep, strong root systems in search of water and nutriment, and are widely considered to produce more complex wines.

Costières De Nîmes wines require Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre to make up at least 60 percent of the finished red and rosé wines. This is ameliorated by Cinsault, Marselan and Carignan. The appellation also permits white wines made from Grenache Blanc, Marsanne and Roussanne, although these make up only a small proportion of the region's vinous output.

The appellation AOC Costières De Nîmes was granted in 1989; prior to that, the wines were produced at the lower VDQS level under the Costières du Gard title. Until 2004, the appellation was officially part of the Languedoc wine region, but is now administered by the Rhône regional wine board in Avignon.

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