My exploration of the Costières de Nîmes continued in the north of the region, at Domaine de Poulvarel. I met with Pascal Glas, who’s now fully into vintage, which started a week earlier. I caught him in the middle of a press cycle of red grapes for making rosé, and he explained that this is a very early vintage, beginning 15 days before the normal start date. ‘In 38 years of harvests,’ he says, this is the first time I’ve begun so early.’
The story behind this family domaine is not unusual here: Pascal and Elizabeth had family vineyards, and he was born in the region. As a child he worked on the 20 hectare family estate, which is 3 km from the river. On the other side of the river, it’s Côtes du Rhône, and he says that his grandparents mistakenly thought that their Costières vineyards were also Côtes du Rhône, not Costières de Nîmes.
They began their domaine in 2004, and Pascal has supplemented the traditional varieties with Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Vermentino (Rolle). The cellar that they built is made of the same stones as the nearby Pont du Gard.
Domaine de Poulvarel Poulvarel Blanc 2021 Costières de Nîmes
13.5% alcohol. Grenache Blanc and Roussanne in equal parts. Elevage in stainless steel. Fine and expressive with bright pear and citrus on the nose as well as some tropical hints. The palate has lovely vivid pure pear and apricot fruit with nice acidity and a mineral line. Lovely precision and purity. 92/100
Domaine de Poulvarel Les Cantarelles 2021 Costières de Nîmes
13.5% alcohol. 50% Grenache Blanc, 25% Roussanne, 25% Vermentino, barrel fermented. Fresh, with nice precise pear and citrus fruit as well as some tropical hints, complemented by some spicy oak characters and nuttiness. This is linear and pure with nice focus, and the potential for some development. The oak is present but well integrated. 91/100
Domaine de Poulvarel Rosé 2021 Costières de Nîmes
13.5% alcohol. 95% Grenache, 5% Mourvèdre. This has some maceration in tank before pressing: it’s tasted hour by hour and after 8-10 hours it’s pressed (rosé de saignée). This gives more flavour. Attractive pink colour. Lovely red cherry and cranberry flavours with a hint of green sappiness and lively acidity. Really fresh and expressive with nice weight and focus. Lovely fresh fruity flavours here. 90/100
Domaine de Poulvarel 2019 Costières de Nîmes
14.5% alcohol. 50% Grenache, 50% Syrah. Made since 2004. This combines ripe berry and black fruits with freshness and drinkability. Soft tannins act as a foil for the silky, lush fruit, and there are notes of pepper and wild herbs adding savoury interest. Finishes with a bit of spice and pepper. This is so typical of Costières. 92/100
Domaine de Poulvarel Les Perrottes 2020 Costières de Nîmes
14.5% alcohol. 65% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 5% Carignan. Hand picked, sorted. Then aged for a year in barrel, and another year in concrete tank. Vivid, spicy, peppery nose with sweet black fruits. Concentrated palate with some firm tannins as well as sweet raspberry, strawberry and a bit of pepper. Substantial with some grip on the finish. 92/100
Domaine de Poulvarel Les Agapans 2019 Costières de Nîmes
14.5% alcohol. 95% Grenache, 5% Syrah. Made with centenarian vines, and spends two years in barrel. First made in 2006. Sold only here (less than 1000 bottles made). This is powerful but also mellow, with a peppery underpinning to the grainy, grippy fruit. Nice structure with some dry dusty tannins sitting under the sweet red cherry and berry fruits, with a hint of liqourice. This is juicy and vivid, but also has some richness. Has the structure to age. 94/100
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