Joseph Castan captures 2,000 years of history in a cutting-edge, ‘crocodile’ bottle

Family-owned, Languedoc-based wine company Joseph Castan is set to release a premium red and rosé Costières de Nîmes duo this spring

Crocodile wine

It is probably one of Nîmes’ best-kept secrets, little known beyond its boundaries. The Roman legionaries who founded the city two thousand years ago chose a crocodile chained to a palm tree as its emblem to symbolise the victory of Augustus over Egypt’s Anthony and Cleopatra. The Mediterranean city famed for its Roman vestiges is home to myriad iterations of the insignia, which is still very much cherished by present-day residents. As too are the surrounding vineyards designated as Costières de Nîmes, both of which are brought together in this trailblazing new label.

My aim was to produce a premium quality Costières de Nîmes wine in a very eye-catching bottle which would encourage consumers to try it”, explains winery founder Vianney Castan. He spent several years taking his design from the drawing board to the production stage with bottle manufacturer OI ultimately producing a proprietary design. The resultant crocodile-skin-effect appearance delivers the intended Wow! factor but its elegant, minimalist style mirrors the attentive approach to winemaking behind the wines.

A blend of Syrah and Grenache, the 2021 vintage rosé is crafted in the Provence style using the direct-to-press technique to retain the purest, palest pink hue with bluish tints imparted by the Syrah. Wild strawberries, raspberries and white flowers adorn the nose, ushering in a smooth, well-balanced palate with the raspberry flowing through. The 2019 red version is blended from the classic Mediterranean combination of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan, the latter grape partly fermented as whole clusters, lending spice and faint cacao notes. Whilst the Grenache rounds out the blend and adds a fleshy, slightly sweet feel, the Mourvèdre and Syrah emphasise spiciness. Partial barrel ageing instils light oak influence.

Côtes de Provence consumers are starting to diversify and to look for light pink fresh wines grown in different regions that are interesting, both for the wines themselves and for the packaging”, explains Greg Wilkins from Brand Phoenix, which has been appointed as exclusive representative for the wines in Great Britain and Ireland. “Crocodile Diamante, whose name speaks volumes about the origin of the wine and its truly unique packaging, comes from an appellation which is under-represented in the UK and offers a different style of rosé”.

The ultimate show-stopper, Crocodile Diamante also takes a mindful approach to the environment, with its sustainable natural cork stopper, whilst speaking to an audience of younger, well-informed consumers by allowing them to tap into the wine’s history and profile using a QR code displayed on the back label.

The brand is truly at the intersection between authenticity, with 2,000 years of history, and modernity with a bottle that genuinely blazes the trail”, recounts Castan. “The wine delivers on the promise of its terroir, which has the same pebble-strewn soils as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but in a mind-blowing bottle which puts it in a league of its own”.

Joseph Castan is a well-established and very well-respected winery”, adds Wilkins. “Vianney has been making fantastic wines there for a long time and this is a truly innovative product with a great untold narrative from a wonderful winery. It’s quite rare to get those three things lining up at the same time”.

Crocodile Diamante is available in Tesco and other outlets as from Spring 2022, and available exclusively via Brandphoenix Ltd.

RRP £10,00

About Joseph Castan

Husband and wife Vianney and Emilie Castan founded Joseph Castan in 2007 and built the company from the ground up. In 2012 they bought Château Saint-Jean d’Aumières in the famed Terrasses du Larzac appellation area, followed by Château Saint-Louis La Perdrix in Costières de Nîmes in 2015. The company, which is named after Vianney’s great-grandfather and award-winning winegrower, has a predominant export focus, driven by flagship labels such as Elegance and L’Alchimiste.

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