St Cosme Little James Basket Press Red NV (France)

St Cosme

Look beyond the striking Beano-esque label and you'll find a hugely interesting wine: a Vin de Table red from a top French grower, made using the solera system; a wine blending technique, usually found in Jerez, the home of sherry.

A solera system is a way of blending wines of different ages to get a consistent style whilst adding complexity and building an interesting . Each year, you draw some wine out of the system to bottle or drink, and you top up the system with some fresh wine from the new vintage. Gradually over time you get a mix of wines of various ages that is both complex and consistant.

Winemaker Louis Barroul of St Cosme describes his wine thus:

At Saint Cosme, Little James is the wine of freedom. Our solera is getting more and more complexity year after year. When we add the current vintage, the solera gains a new element without changing the style… This wine recalls the ancient times when the wine merchants would make wines having only one target: the pleasure. Blending several vintages is considered being a great quality tradition in Champagne. I think it works exactly the same for a great Grenache. The 2011 bottling will be composed with 50% of 2010 along with 50% from all the vintages back to 1999.”

So half new wine and half from the solera; the blend of youth and experience so beloved of football managers everywhere.

The wine is 100% Grenache and has bags of fresh, raspberry fruit with sweet spice and soft tannins. The older wines add some depth and complexity, but not at the expense of the wine’s sense of jollity. I suspect it would enjoy ten minutes in an ice bucket to bring the fruit in to sharper focus and highlight the refreshing acidity.

I’m off to stay with some old uni friends next week and I am sure there will be the odd barbecued banger knocking about of an evening. I’m packing a case of Little James to keep us all company.

Gareth Groves
2nd June 2011

Company No. 2550982 | 109a Regents Park Road London NW1 8UR | Call: 0845 263 6924 | AWRS Number: XVAW00000101595

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