Domaine la Bouïssière

France, Rhône

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.

I continue to love the wines from this Gigondas estate, which was created by Antonin Faravel in 1942. It wasn’t until 1979 that they built a new cellar and released their first estate bottling. While Antonin passed away in 1988, the estate is managed today by his three children, Gilles, Thierry and Josiane. This is a true mountain domaine and the majority of the Gigondas vines lie high up on the slopes of the Dentelles, in the region known as Col du Cayron, at roughly 400-500 meters in elevation. This is cooler, rocky and limestone-based terroir. The grapes are partially destemmed and aged in a combination of tanks and older barrels (their Font de Tonin has a small portion aged in new to third fill barrels). These are classic, textbook Gigondas that show the complex spice and garrigue aromatics that are common from these cooler terroirs, as well as solid concentration and texture. In addition to the Gigondas releases, they also release a single Vacqueyras, which is slightly unusual in its high Syrah content, and a Beaumes de Venise. Jeb Dunnuck -