In the Rhône Valley, as in most of France, there is a hierarchy of appellations. Wines named Côtes du Rhône Villages come from one of 18 villages, each of which is allowed to put the name of the village on the label. Séguret is one of these villages. The Côtes du Rhône Villages appellation is one step below the top of the pyramid—villages that are allowed to use their name without adding Côtes du Rhône on the label.
Séguret is located in the easternmost area of the Côtes du Rhône. The vines grow on gentle, sandy slopes—producing Grenache with freshness and vitality—as well as on a steep, limestone hillside with rocky outcroppings, resulting in wines with good structure in the form of tannin and acidity. That structure allows the wines to improve with age and makes them great partners for more substantial food. The Chateau La Courançonne Séguret comes from two parcels, one in each of the terroirs. The resulting wine brings a combination of freshness and structure. It is a perfect example of how blending both grapes and terroirs makes a wine that is better than the sum of its parts.
John Livingstone-Learmonth, a writer for Decanter magazine and publisher of the Drink Rhone website (drinkrhone.com), tasted Courançonne Séguret from a small bottle, and skipped the red fruit and went straight to the black. His verdict? “The palate is juicy, has good grip, is a good wine… Very good, typical 2010.” But I think we have the better deal; after tasting at least six bottles, I’m convinced that it’s even better out of a full bottle than out of the smaller one.
The Chateau La Courançonne Séguret is far more complex than the price would indicate. This is a wine that really speaks of the site, is truly complex, and is a great value. The layers of flavor start out red with red fruit aromas and flavors. That is a testament to the Grenache that makes up 60 percent of the blend. The second layer is spice—think pumpkin pie with its aromas of clove, nutmeg and allspice. The next layer is black fruit, blackberry, blueberry and black plum, which come on late and on the finish. There is also some smoke, green olive and black pepper that comes along with the black fruit. That’s the Syrah component speaking.
This is a more complex version of the bistro wine that is in every small café in France. As such, you can pair it with just about anything other than white flesh fish, but it is at its best with heartier dishes. The added complexity and almost-full body makes it an excellent partner for grilled meat, which isn’t usually the case with typical Côtes du Rhône. In fact, it’s just about the perfect wine for thick and juicy homemade hamburgers.