Domaine Rimbert’s $12 ‘Cousin Oscar’ manages to be surprising while sticking to the proven formula of an everyday country wine. For starters it proves Cinsault, a light skinned, highly perfumed grape rarely given center stage, can be charmingly suited for the task. Its tart raspberry, rose petal and savory cherry work unusually well together, especially when the bottle is slightly chilled.
Charm and refreshment factor aside, unlike most of the inexpensive mass-scale wines born from the Languedoc, Jean Marie Rimbert is a serious artisanal winemaker who clearly understands how to show the strengths of the grape without falling into any of its dire shortcomings (think: bland, thin, boring). Unapologetic in its simplicity – the wine is named after Rimbert’s girlfriend’s lady slaying cousin – it nevertheless flourishes due to getting complicated things (sensitive organic farming and smart hands off vinification) right. The end result is that Cousin Oscar is what 99.9% of $12 wine often aren’t: unique.
Domaine Rimbert 2016 Cousin Oscar
“This is gulpable, delicious Cinsault, the fruit crunchy and juicy with wild rose scents and meaty, spicy complexity.” 90 Points, Wine & Spirits
More About the Wine
Twenty-five years ago, Jean Marie Rimbert arrived in the Languedoc to manage the vineyards at the Languedoc staple château de Flaugergues. After a few harvests he successfully saved up enough money to strike out on his own. Rimbert, who did not enjoy the privilege many French winemakers of having vineyards handed down to him, had to be careful in his selection. He eventually settled on the hillside schist vineyards spread up around the village of Berlou, which enjoys the highest elevation in the noble St. Chinian appellation. From the beginning Rimbert’s aim was to make serious wines that are moderate in alcohol and particularly easy to drink. Most revealing is the estate’s adopted moto: “Sinking our teeth into life’s pleasures rather than drinking away our time.” Mr. Rimbert also accomplished something many others weren’t keen on doing: organic viticulture. Keep in mind this was far, far before organic “natural” wines were hip and fashionable. The man was light years ahead of the curve.
Don’t miss one of favorite refreshing gulpable reds of the Summer!