Home > GoodDevelop, Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > 2007 Les Pallieres, Les Racines, Gigondas and 2007 Raspail-Ay, Gigondas

2007 Les Pallieres, Les Racines, Gigondas and 2007 Raspail-Ay, Gigondas

I have long been a fan of Gigondas since I brought back a bottle of Les Pallieres for Thanksgiving dinner.  It was aromatic, earthy, and traditional.  My mother, grandfather, and I loved it!  It was the early1990s and at the time I was a student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  I purchased the bottle at The Village Corner which was existed on South University for forty years.  There were no windows on this mini-grocery and wine store.  It actually looked quite dumpy but had a great wine department.  I will eventually write about my wine adventures during my undergraduate years but for now I will fast forward to fall 2007.  With Jenn pregnant and not drinking wine we decided to buy affordable, aged Rhone wines to drink later.  MacArthur’s was selling vast amounts of 1998 Gigondas.  Every week there were different selections hitting the shelves.  I managed to squirrel away a variety of Gigondas that we have enjoyed over the years.

I have only drunk several bottles of Gigondas from the 2007 vintage.  I am amazed at how approachable they are.  They do not seem to be the brutally tannic and coarse wines from the early vintages of 2000.  With the 2007 vintage I believe that Gigondas and Vacqueyras are truly shining.  I heartily recommend both of these wines.

2007 Domaine Les Pallieres, Les Rancines, Gigondas
Domaine Les Pallieres is an old estate that was purchased in 1998 by the Brunier brothers of Vieux Telegraphe and importer Kermit Lynch.  It is located near the border of Sablet and is just uphill from the domaines of Trignon and St.-Gayan.  The domaine has functioned as a farm continuously since the 15th century.  Owned by the Hilarion Roux family, it was run by Pierre. At the time it was a leading estate that made very traditional wines.  Pierre believed that the wines should be well aged at the time of release.  According to John Livingstone-Learmonth the last four bottlings of the 1981 vintage was completed in March 1986.  Robert W. Mayberry notes it was the most typical of the “forme oxidative” due to the three to four years spent in oak casks.  Two great frosts created extensive damage and the property fell into disrepair.  The Roux family look for a buyer and agreed to sell the domaine to the Bruniers and Kermit Lynch.  ***(*) 2017-2025.

Les Racines vineyard by Kermit Lynch

The vineyards and estate were extensively renovated.  The new winery is gravity fed and separately handles multiple parcels.  The estate traditionally made one wine but starting with the 2007 vintage two cuvees are made.  Cuvee Les Racines “The Roots” is made from the oldest vines surrounding the winery.  Cuvee Terrasse du Diable comes from the higher altitude vines.  Les Racines is a blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Syrah & Cinsault (planted together), and 5% Clairette.  The terraced vineyards lie at 250 meters and the soils are composed of red sandy clay, limestone, and scree.  The vines average 65 years of age.  The grapes are fermented in temperature controlled concrete cuves and wooden vats.  It is aged in cuves for 10 months then in foudres for 7-9 months.

This wine is almost a medium color of ruby/garnet.  It has a light nose that is more piercing than the Raspail-Ay.  There are soft, red flavors mixed with some white-wine fruit.  There is a distinct scent of floral licorice  in the nose that is followed in the mouth.  This wine is supple with mouthfilling flavors that are still delicate.  With air there is some pepper and lavender-like aromas and flavors.  The wine grows stronger with time and wraps up with fine tannins in the finish.  It remained virtually unchanged on the second night.

2007 Domaine Raspail-Ay, Gigondas
This estate has long been in the Ay family.  After phylloxera devastated the vineyards in the 19th century the family could not afford to replant.  They eventually sold their statue of Diadumenos of Vaison-la-Romaine to the British Museum in 1869 to finance replanting.  Most of the Roman artifacts in Gigondas have been found on the estate.  The estate was eventually split into four pieces due to the French inheritance laws.  Today the domaine holds a 17.5 acre plot and is run by Dominique Ay.  The wine is a blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Syrah, and 6% Mourvedre.  The wine originally spent three to four years in wood as it was progressively racked into smaller barrels.  Over the years changing demand has shortened this duration.  Today it is first aged in foudres then barrels for a total of 18-24 months.  Dominique Ay does not like a lot of wood tannins in his wine so some of his barrels are forty years old!  ***(*) 2017-2025.

Raspail-Ay Vineyard, by Kevin Beretta

This wine has a similar color to the Pallieres but with a wee bit more purple.  It too has a light nose but of dark fruits.  In the mouth it reveals darker, earthier flavors, and minerals.  It is a bit heady and the alcoholic strength breaks through a bit.  In the finish there are more minerals, fine+ tannins, and grapey, purple fruit flavors in the aftertaste.  A bit more sauvage than the Pallieres and thus a bit more of a traditional Gigondas.

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