Rhône is one of the most popular wine regions in France – and with good reason: the wines over-deliver on quality-to-value. There are still many discoveries to be made, and perhaps the most delightful is a small corner of the southern Rhône known as the Cèze Valley. It is home to all three of the area’s “Most Beautiful Villages in France” – Aiguèze, Montclus and La Roque-sur-Cèze. Thrill-seekers explore the limestone gorges in Lussan; collectors, the flea markets in Barjac; and for an aperitif, the locals head to the charming canal of Goudargues, “the Venice of the Gard.”
This is Rhône and wine naturally ranks high as the biggest benchmark of the area. The Castor family, owners of Château Saint Nabor, have been making wines in the village of Cornillon for six generations. The first to bottle a wine from the area, Saint Nabor is also the first name in winemaking in the Cèze, and owns prime vineyards that span a diversity of terroir from terraces to hillsides and plains.
According to owner Jérémie Castor, a respect for tradition is built into the character of Saint Nabor and the surrounding valley, but every generation brings a healthy dose of innovation. It was Jérémie’s father, Gérard, who turned the family’s sole focus to winemaking, increasing the estate’s vineyards from 17 to 345 acres by patiently acquiring small holdings, one parcel at a time. To preserve character and quality, the family harvests block-by-block, working more than 100 parcels to produce a range of classic Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan for reds and rosés, to Viognier and Chardonnay for whites.
Jérémie recommends starting with the family’s stylish Gris de Nabor Rosé (an exceptional summer value at $13.99) or Nabor Côtes du Rhône White. Domaine des Santonilles Côtes du Rhône Villages presents a timeless Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre blend.