[Billet vins] Cru gigondas: between north and south

The definition of the term “vitivinicultural terroir” adopted by the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) in June 2010 refers to “a concept that refers to a space in which a collective knowledge of the interactions between a physical environment and and organic products and the viticultural practices applied, which give distinctive characteristics to the products originating from this space. Terroir includes specific characteristics of soil, topography, climate, landscape and biodiversity”.

Land, therefore. “This is a beautiful local wine! “Some even add:” And mineral with that! Yes, okay, but still? “Terroir” and “mineral” are terms that will make any cruciverbist euphoric at the crossroads of all the truisms available. Catch-all words that cannot be amputated from their context, because they form a whole. But the terroir must be recognized to fully reveal itself. This is where the winemaker comes into play. There would therefore exist as many terroirs as individuals likely to give birth to them. Last point: are all terroirs equal? Let us recognize that the so-called “historic” terroirs, which have proven themselves, are supplemented over time by new recruits, emerging in turn under the impact, among other things, of climatic pressures and the ingenuity of men in their adapt to it.

This long detour to tell you about the Gigondas vintage. The name would be derived from the Latin word jocunditaswhich means joy, jubilation, and, if I rely on the wild and bucolic charm that emerges both from the wines, but also from the many localities and terroirs of this Rhone appellation of nearly 1200 hectares, the appellation is definitely well chosen. The keywords here? Finesse, perfume, sap, velvety, character, elegance, voluptuousness, ability to improve over time. My colleague from To have to Odile Tremblay would no doubt argue that the gigondas, in her Proustian spirit, “belongs to spirits who enjoy frequenting the depths”. That, for the average price of a Burgundy 1er believed !

This “frequentation of the depths” sticks well to the skin of the Grenache Noirs, here in the majority on the ground (equal to or greater than 50% of the grape varieties), but also of the Syrahs and Mourvèdres (both here equal to or greater than 15% plantations) although at the end of the day this same Grenache Noir can represent up to 100% of the bottled grape varieties. Simply royal, Grenache. Especially when it draws its sap from the safre subsoils of the Comtat (in the plain) or from vertical and/or compressed white or blue limestone marls at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Between north and south.

An ideal profile emerges. Less powerful, although as detailed, than a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which it follows closely by its longevity but also because of its finesse of flavors, at the level of a beautiful Burgundy, all without sacrificing this astonishing overall coolness favored at altitude by complex local atmospheric movements. The 220 or so winegrowers bent on yields of misery (maximum of 36 hectos/ha authorized) do honor here to a diversified mosaic of localities, delivering plural gigondas of expression, according to the styles and techniques used.

The president of the AOC gigondas, Louis Barruol, visited us last week with a battery of fine estates to taste in his suitcases. What to say, already, of his pure Grenaches on sands of his cuvée Hominis Fidès 2018 at the Château de Saint Cosme? The expression is bewitching and deep, readable and luminous, high-flying. A finely tactile red to give you a thrill of extra intelligence. A great wine.

Among the wines from the estates tasted with undisguised happiness, let us note Raspail Ay, Santa Duc (cuvée Aux Lieux-Dits), Montirius (Confidential), Saint Gayan, Les Goubert (Florence), Pierre Amadieu (Romane Machotte), Boissan (Victor ) or Moulin de la Gardette (Ventabren). With such a high quality of red wines for the Gigondas cru (here in 99% red), we can only imagine the potential of the rosés and the (too) rare whites available. We will talk about it again.

Grab while there’s some left!

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