Chateau la Coste is one of the most awesome wine-making enterprises in France. Over the last decade, the ancient vineyards have been utterly transformed by the embattled Irish property investor.
Paddy McKillen made a smart move in employing one of Provence's most respected young winemakers – Matthieu Cosse, whose Cahors wines have been widely lauded – to make the wines at Le Puy-Sainte-Reparade. An expert on organic and biodynamic winemaking, Cosse has created a portfolio of elegant and extremely well made wines that, at the cellar door, range from €8 to €26.20.
Interestingly, we couldn't track down any wines from Chateau la Coste in Irish wine shops, and they appear to be available only in a couple of restaurants. By far the most extensive range is at Wagamama in the Stephen's Green Centre in Dublin, which sources its entire wine list from the Chateau – three whites, three reds and a rose.
As an aperitif, we had the Chateau la Source Version Nature Rose, €19.99. This is a really good rose, a very pale pink 50/50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with subtle aromas of peaches and pear with hints of ripe red cherry on the palate. The finish had a delicious bone dry minerality.
We also tried the two whites. The Version Nature White (€19.95), a half and half blend of Sauvignon and Chardonnay didn't rock all our boats as it was deemed to be a little short on fruit, but the Blanc de Blancs 2012 (€24.95), an interesting blend of Vermentio and Sauvignon Blanc, was given a thumbs-up its floral nose, fruity palate and crisp, fresh finish.
Best of the whites was the Cuvee Lisa Blanc 2011 (€26.95), which delivered heady floral aromas and generous amounts of white fruits on the palate.
There was general agreement that Matthieu Cosse's reds were a step up from the whites. The basic Version Nature Red (€19.95) was smooth, with good dollops of red berry fruits on the palate and a touch of oaky spiciness on the finish. The Premiere Cuvee 2011 (€24.95) was a lot more elegant and full-bodied thanks to plenty of grenache and syrah in the blend and to my mind represents great value on a restaurant list.
But for just an extra few euro, I would go for the Cuvee Lisa Red (€26.95), a beefy, almost black, full-bodied red with forest fruits in abundance, chocolate and spice notes and smooth tannins.
Verdict? Well made, fairly priced and interesting wines that deserve wider availability.