2018 Clos Derrière Vieille Domaine Santa Duc
|Grapes||Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache|
|Other||Bio-dynamic, Certified Organic|
A blend of 80% Grenache and 10% each Mourvèdre and Syrah, all grown in a limestone-rich clos, the 2018 Gigondas Clos Derriere Vieille is floral and resinously herbal, with stemmy notes accenting mixed berries. Medium to full-bodied, it's silky and ripe yet vibrant, with ample complexity allied to admirable acid-tannin balance. It should drink well for up to a decade. Drinking range: 2020 - 2030 Rating: 94 Joe Czerwinski, www.robertparker.com (Oct 2020)
*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles (or 9l equivalent) of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits, Sweet Wine or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
When the Clos Derrière Vieille is acquired by the Gras family in 1994, it had been barely cultivated. The former dairy still lies stately within the middle of the vineyards. In hard work, the terraces are restored to counteract erosion. The vines are planted in narrow terraces meandering in in dense rows along the morphology of the steep limestone massif. Each grape variety was planted on a terrace to meet its demand for water: Syrah in damp soils and Mourvèdre in stony ones, Grenache in transitional zones: 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre. Located 350 meters above sea level, facing north-west, this special location with 6.5 ha of forest and 3.5 ha of vines offers a breath-taking view into the Rhone Valley. The nearby hospice and church gave it its name: Derrière la vieille ville (behind the old village). On the limestone soils of the Cretaceous, the wine develops a fine bouquet of fresh fruits and delicate, floral notes, supported by mineral freshness and fine tannins. An extraordinary taste experience that fully explains to what extent nature and the environment can give shape to a wine. Varieties : 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah. The Syrah were planted on the richest areas, Mourvèdre on the better drained areas and Grenache on intermediate terraces. Vinification : Hand picked with a very selective sorting, destemming, short and soft maceration. Soft punching-down. Ageing : In big recent casks (foudres), during 18 months. Terroir : Calcareous marl from Cretaceous periodWinemaker's notes (Jan 2021)
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 bring 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.
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