Gigondas

With the dramatic backdrop of the Dentelles de Montmirail which dominate the skyline, the wines of Vacqueyras and Gigondas are starting to step out of the shadow of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and forge an identity of their own. It is just lazy to compare them to their more illustrious neighbour; these are wines of power, yes, but can also show finesse and freshness. The soils and elevations, especially in Gigondas, are quite varied, so making very broad generalisations is dangerous - it's better to look at them domaine by domaine or even vineyard by vineyard

Santa Duc Gigondas can be drunk from shortly after release, but these are wines grown high on the chalk-clay plateau, and with bottle age of say 6-8 years are only just starting to come into the sweet spot. The elevation and chalk make for wines with tension and length which age beautifully. The Gigondas of Thierry Faravel at Domaine la Bouïssière is also a wine from the hills, and like Santa Duc, it is harvested a week or more after the vines lower down. By contrast Thierry's Vacqueyras is on the slopes facing the Plan de Dieu, and shows a different, more opulent texture.


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Domaine la Bouïssière

Thierry and Gilles Faravel's Domaine la Bouïssière in Gigondas is exceptional in many ways, apart from the personality of Thierry himself, it is the site of the vineyard, high up under the 'Dentelles de Montmirail' which makes the defining difference.

In contrast to the vines being baked on the plains of stones at the foot of the hill, the Bouïssière vines benefit from cooling air at night falling from the high peaks, and the wines retain a freshness and subtle persistence which is very different to the sometimes bludgeoning broadness and alcoholic heat of the wines on the plain.

Gilles and Thierry Faravel employ non-interventionalist practices to make wines as naturally as possible, resulting in wines of immense concentration and depth, with true vibrancy and the capacity to age for ten to fifteen years.

Thierry Faravel on the 2022 vintage:

‘It’s a vintage that has produced wines with a charming freshness, full of dark fruit character and edged with fine tannins. Our harvest took place right up until mid-October and this longer ripening period favoured more delicate aromas in the grapes. The tannins are fine but bring a firm, final tension to the wine. The vintage avoids being over-the-top and the wines all have a certain elegance, especially on the palate.’

2022 VACQUEYRAS Domaine la Bouïssière

2022 VACQUEYRAS Domaine la Bouïssière

2022 Vacquyeras 55% Grenache 35% Syrah 10% Mourvèdre. Foudre. Final blend will have demi muid & concrete (15/20%). Lovely dark purple, pure. Sweet black fruits, dark cherry, raspberry, dark fruit2022 Vacquyeras 55% Grenache 35% Syrah 10% Mourvèdre. Foudre. Final blend will have demi muid & concrete (15/20%). Lovely dark purple, pure. Sweet black fruits, dark cherry, raspberry, dark fruit pastille, big flavours, with aniseed and mineral tone, sweet and juicy, vibrant and juicy, the tannin is well supported by the acidity, very long, blueberry and soft plum, touch of soy.L&S (Oct 2023)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2022 GIGONDAS Domaine la Bouïssière

2022 GIGONDAS Domaine la Bouïssière

2022 Gigondas: final blend from tank 70% Grenache & 30% Syrah 50% destemmed. Deep colour, very ripe on the nose, the palate is very blue fruited, dark cherry, meaty, fruit pastille, very moreish,2022 Gigondas: final blend from tank 70% Grenache & 30% Syrah 50% destemmed. Deep colour, very ripe on the nose, the palate is very blue fruited, dark cherry, meaty, fruit pastille, very moreish, vibrant and sweet with long long flow, there is also a slight saline note, really drinkable and very enjoyable, will need 3-5 years before approaching, much more elegant than previous vintages, tannin is not so evident, but liquorice minerality shines through.L&S (Oct 2023)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2022 GIGONDAS La Font de Tonin Domaine la Bouïssière
75cl bottles, case of 6

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Domaine Santa Duc

The name of Domaine Santa Duc has been at the pinnacle of wine in Gigondas since the mid 80’s when, under the firm guidance of the irrepressible and charismatic Yves Gras, they gained international recognition and high scores from wine critics. They have, for some time, been a reference point for quality and style, from one of the most consistently brilliant Crus in the Southern Rhone.

The future of the domaine is now in the very capable hands of Yves' son Benjamin, who becomes the 6th generation of the family to head up the estate. To borrow from Matt Walls ‘Yves Gras and his son Benjamin are very different characters. Yves has the air of a retired East End enforcer, but Benjamin is bookish and jovial’. It would appear from our recent tastings that the estate is in safe hands. Having a respectable CV that boasts stages at Domaine de la Romanée Conti and Vega Sicilia, and visits to nearly every wine producing country in the world, he brings fresh views and ideas, whilst respecting the traditions of his father's work and the past.

The entire 30-hectare estate is now biodynamically farmed and certified, with an emphasis on total respect for nature in the vineyard. They comprise a patchwork of prime vineyard sites in Gigondas totalling 13 hectares, including two brilliant lieux-dits, Les Hautes Garrigues & Clos Derriere Vieille, that bring out the very best expression of Grenache, Syrah & Mourvedre. There is also 6 hectares of prized parcels in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, that have gained high praise in a short space of time. The balance is spread across Vacqueyras and Cotes du Rhone. Nearly all the vines are trained goblet, with a program of Massal selection ongoing to ensure healthy vines from older rootstocks.

The wine making philosophy, like so many now, is as little intervention as possible. Stainless steel fermentation, with a proportion of stems and a short maceration followed by ageing in a mixture of large foudres and terracotta amphorae. The wines are fresh, elegant, pure, dark fruited and long lived although approachable in their youth too. Be in no doubt, these are some of the best wines being made in the southern Rhone.

2021 GIGONDAS Aux Lieux-Dits Domaine Santa Duc

2021 GIGONDAS Aux Lieux-Dits Domaine Santa Duc

What can be thought of as the classic cuvée and from eight different vineyards throughout the appellation, the 2021 Gigondas Aux Lieux-Dits is 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, and 5% SyrahWhat can be thought of as the classic cuvée and from eight different vineyards throughout the appellation, the 2021 Gigondas Aux Lieux-Dits is 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, and 5% Syrah that was not destemmed and was brought up in a mix of foudre and amphora. Blackberries, raspberries, peppery herbs, and underbrush all define this medium-bodied, elegant, Burgundian Gigondas, which has fine tannins and a terrific sense of elegance. I like its overall balance, and it should have a decade of longevity. Rating: 88-90 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com (Nov 2023)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2021 GIGONDAS Clos Derrière Vieille Domaine Santa Duc

2021 GIGONDAS Clos Derrière Vieille Domaine Santa Duc

Dark ruby. Highly perfumed, spice- and mineral-accented red and dark berry, exotic spice, vanilla and potpourri scents show fine detail and a touch of smokiness. It's sappy, sweet and penetrating onDark ruby. Highly perfumed, spice- and mineral-accented red and dark berry, exotic spice, vanilla and potpourri scents show fine detail and a touch of smokiness. It's sappy, sweet and penetrating on the palate. Vibrant raspberry, cherry preserve, five-spice powder and floral pastille flavors are complemented by hints of licorice and espresso that build on the back half. Smooth and seamless in texture, this shows outstanding finishing clarity, polished tannins and a floral-driven persistence. Raised in Stockinger foudres and amphoras. Rating: 94-96 Josh Raynolds, www.vinousmedia.com (Jan 2023)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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2021 GIGONDAS Les Hautes Garrigues Domaine Santa Duc

2021 GIGONDAS Les Hautes Garrigues Domaine Santa Duc

Elegant to the core, the 2021 Gigondas Les Hautes Garrigues dazzles with fragrant orange peel, rose petal, raspberry, blueberry and black cherry. Minty and earthy gradations complement the aromaticElegant to the core, the 2021 Gigondas Les Hautes Garrigues dazzles with fragrant orange peel, rose petal, raspberry, blueberry and black cherry. Minty and earthy gradations complement the aromatic profile. Firm tannins frame this medium to full-bodied 2021 red, giving way to a stimulating finish. Readers should note that the addition of the word Préstige to the wine name was removed, as winemaker and proprietor Benjamin Gras felt it was too generic. Drinking range: 2026 - 2036 Rating: 92 Nicholas Greinacher - Vinousmedia.com (Jan 2024)

75cl bottles, case of 6

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