Unlike most Southern Cotes du Rhone we see, this is 80% Syrah, with the balance old-vine Cinsault and Grenache. Compared to Grenache-based bottlings, this has got more Syrah black-and-blue fruit profile, all dark and smoky and brambly. Its aromatics recall a Northern Rhone wine, with expressive anise and tobacco notes.
Here is yet another delicious bottling. It starts with seductive aromas of lavender, pepper and anise, then gives way to a lush mouthful of rich blackberry, currant and black cherry fruit – letting you know you are firmly rooted in the sun-baked South of France. Classic garrigue, lavender, and herbs de provence character (hello old vine Cinsault!) add complexity to the wine. This will drink well for 4-5 years, so grab some extra!
The Syrah and Cinsault, plus small amounts of Grenache and Viognier, are co-fermented in glass-lined concrete vats for 5 weeks, and then matured in concrete for 8 months before being bottled without filtration. What that does is allow the wine to breath, unlike stainless steel, and soften, without adding toasty, oaky flavors. Nothing wrong with a judicious use of wood, but here the goal is to express their fabulous terroir, with the Le Bouveau vineyard just outside the boundary of Gigondas, but with a similar aspect and soil-type...and without the price tag!
Jeb Dunnuck: 90 Points
"The Syrah-dominated 2018 Côtes Du Rhône La Bouveau is another terrific value from this estate. Deep purple-colored with bright, juicy notes of black fruits, violets, and pepper, it’s medium to full-bodied, has a rounded, silky texture, and loads of charm and character."