While we may refer to the Rhône Valley as if it were one region, it is in reality two - the Northern Rhône and the Southern Rhône. They are quite distinct in character in almost every respect, and are indeed separated by a good hour's motorway driving. In the north, the climate more closely resembles that of Burgundy; other aspects are also similar - there are a great many small producers, working alongside a handful of famous négociants (best known are Chapoutier and Guigal). In addition, the wines of the north are made largely from a single grape variety (Syrah for all the reds; Viognier for Condrieu; and Roussanne and Marsanne for the other white appellations).

In the south, the climate is markedly hotter, bearing a much closer resemblance to the Languedoc and other distinctively Mediterranean regions. The wines are mostly blended from a number of varieties - as many as thirteen in the case of Châteauneuf du Pape. The whole character of the south, with its heat, wind (Mistral) and dust conjours up an atmosphere much more akin to the Mediterranean basin than to northern Europe. Châteauneuf itself, dominated by the ruins of the great medieval papal fortress, epitomises this in every respect. In both north and south, we concentrate largely on the wines of individual domaines, where we believe the most distinctive styles are made.

Château de St Cosme

The Château de St Cosme is run by the exceptionally enthusiastic, talented - and temperamental - Louis Barruol.  The winemaking here is extraordinary, and anyone who can deal with one of the most volatile characters of the Rhône Valley has a rich seam of outstanding wines to mine.  Clarion's last meeting with Louis was not conducted in the atmosphere of cordiality that usually characterises our supplier relations, and we left having reluctantly decided that the wines we list here will be the last that we obtain directly from this fine domaine.

Chapelle de St Cosme


2006 Gigondas Le Claux, Château St Cosme x 6
 6 Bottles
"The 2006 Gigondas Le Claux has a rustic, chewy feel with loads of garrigue, leather, cured meats and tar-like aromas and flavors all present. Possessing the tannic edge of the appellation, it’s a full-bodied, rich and concentrated effort to drink over the coming decade. 94" Jeb Dunnuck in Robert Parker's Wine Advocate #214 

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