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Excellent 2016 Gigondas from Bouissiere, Cayron, Mourchon, Raspail-ay, and Soumade

November 8, 2019 Leave a comment

I recently tasted through five different bottles of 2016 Gigondas and found very good quality throughout.  The 2016 vintage provides wines for both early drinking and cellar potential.  In both cases, there is plenty of supple fruit for enjoyment so you are not bogged down by any structure.  The 2016 Domaine Mourchon, Gigondas and 2016 Domaine du Cayron, Gigondas are enjoyable right now.  The Mourchon offers plenty of tasty fruit and becomes a little salty.  The Cayron exhibits a strong personality due to its Kirsch aromas and flavors.  Of the longer-lived wines, the 2016 Domaine La Bouissiere, Gigondas is savory, complex, and balanced with a more elegant, less fruit-forward nature compared to the next two.  It is excellent and should improve further.  There is an attractive strawberry flavor in the 2016 Domaine Raspail-Ay, Gigondas which sports ample baking spices and an inky finish.  The 2016 Domaine la Soumade, Gigondas  is dark flavored with more herbs and minerals.  It will reach the greatest age at the slowest pace.  The Boussiere, Raspail-Ay, and Soumade are my favorite of these five.  They will be fascinating to taste several years from now.

2016 Domaine La Bouissiere, Gigondas – $30 at MacArthur Beverages
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This wine is a blend of 66% Grenache and 34% Syrah raised in vat and foudre.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Kirsch on the nose.  With air, it develops clean bright red flavors which are savory and dense.  There is an attractive tension from the acidity which is balanced by the fruit and structure.  It is lively on the tongue.  With extended air it shows savory complexity with notes of pine and dried herbs.  Excellent.  **** Now – 2030.

2016 Domaine du Cayron, Gigondas $36 at MacArthur Beverages
Imported by Roanoke Valley Wine.  This wine is a blend of 78% Grenache, 14% Syrah, 6% Cinsault, and 2% Mourvedre raised in foudre.  Alcohol 14%.  Very aromatic with Kirsch and berries.  In the mouth are pure, weight flavors of Kirsch with a fine, powerful structure in the finish.  It clearly reflects the intensity of the vintage.  With air, the core of fruit becomes more expansive yet is still lively on the tongue.  For the medium-term.  **** Now – 2027.

2016 Domaine Mourchon, Gigondas – $25 at MacArthur Beverages
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  A special selection just for MacArthur Beverages.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Easy to drink red fruit first greets then a vein of black fruit and acidity come out.  This is a forward wine for early drinking.  It take some a salty nature with air.  ***(*) Now – 2025.

2016 Domaine Raspail-Ay, Gigondas – $36 at MacArthur Beverages
Imported by Michael Corso Selections.  This wine is an approximate blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre.  Alcohol 15%.  Dark and lush in the mouth with Kirsch poking through.  The acidity grows subtly in prominence as the flavors take on baking spice and bluer fruit by the finish.  There is a fine structure that is always supportive and not obtrusive.  The ability to age is revealed with air.  The wine becomes redder with strawberry flavors, lovely ripe baking spices, and an inky finish.  It is always in balance.  **** Now – 2030.

2016 Domaine la Soumade, Gigondas – $36 at MacArthur Beverages
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah.  Alcohol 15%.  Focused flavors with a black fruited start.  Minerals and herbs first develop then a perfumed, creamy finish and eventually a salty note.  This is a dense wine with rounded edges which will slowly unfurl with age.  With air the wine shows a cool, dense nature, dark fruit, fine texture, and a black, mineral and herb influenced finish.  It is a young wine that will age slower than all of the others.  **** Now – 2034.

Another tasting with Lou, from maturing Chablis to old Boeger wines

November 5, 2019 Leave a comment

While it was still warm, I met up with Lou and another friend for grilled steak and a variety of wines.  Two favorite wines from the evening include the lush 2005 Domaine Vrignaud, Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume and young 2010 Scholium Project, The Courier, Shake Ridge Ranch, Amador County.  I found the 2006 Domaine Saint-Damien, Vieilles Vignes, Gigondas young and capable of much further development.  Though it did become a bit hot with air (and perhaps some warmth).

We then moved on to a trio of old California wines from Boeger Winery.  Founded by Greg and Sue Boeger in 1972, Boeger Winery was the first commercial winery in El Dorado County since Prohibition.  It is located in the old Elmo Fossati Ranch winery built in 1870s and operated until the 1920s. It remained in the Fossati family until it was sold in 1972.

Boeger Winery was part of an expansion of vineyard acreage in the county from 11 largely experimental acres in 1967 to 380 by 1981.  Greg Boeger felt El Dorado County was special with a better climate than in Napa Valley.  The vineyards are located at a higher elevation, the temperature is cooler, and the area is without fog so grapes may ripen without mildew.  Boeger was ready for its first crush in 1974 and by 1977, he doubled capacity to 12,000 gallons.  It is from this period that our three oldest bottles stem from.  The NV Boeger Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon Lot No. 3, El Dorado County is a solid drink, still in firm shape.  The 1979 Boeger Winery, Merlot, El Dorado County steps up the quality with savory, strong flavors.  Sharing a common savory quality, the 1978 Boeger Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, El Dorado County has a clear, blue fruited vein.  While not mind-blowing, these bottles were in fine shape with the vintage dated ones exhibiting a common personality.

2005 Domaine Vrignaud, Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume
Imported by KV Imports.  Alcohol 13%.  A light, gold-straw color.  Aromatic on the nose with some ripe orchard notes.  More rounded that the nose belies, it is even lush with a touch of softness, wood hint, and underlying maturity.  With air the wine comes into focus with dense lemon flavor, flint, and quite the mouthfeel.  ***(*) Now – 2025.

2010 Scholium Project, The Courier, Shake Ridge Ranch, Amador County
This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Granche.  Alcohol 14.8%.  A young, lifted Syrah nose which is articulate and aromatic.  Complex, tense, and young. Needs time.  ***(*) Now – 2029.

2006 Domaine Saint-Damien, Vieilles Vignes, Gigondas
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  Alcohol 15%.  Young but there is a savory focus for future development.  A licorice note comes out.  Strong with a touch of heat after extended air.  Will it remain balanced or should you pop and pour?  *** Now – 2029.

1990 Giuseppe Contratto, Solus Ad, Barbera d’Asti
Imported by Bedford Brands Ltd. Alcohol 12.8%.  Mature on the nose and on the cusp of falling apart. Not Rated.

NV Boeger Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon Lot No. 3, El Dorado County
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from vines located at 1400 ft in elevation in the Gold Hill district.  It was aged in small French Never oak barrels.    Alcohol 12.5%.  Still good color.  Sweet wood notes on the nose.  Tart and firm red fruit supported by black fruit flavors.  A solid wine with good, citric acidity.  ** Now.

1979 Boeger Winery, Merlot, El Dorado County
This wine is 100% Merlot sourced from the highest ridge at the winery. Alcohol 13.2%.  A bricking color.  Savory in the mouth with a big start.  In a strong state with supportive acidity throughout.  **(*) Now.

1978 Boeger Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, El Dorado County
This wine is a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Merlot sourced from vines at 2300 ft in elevation.  It was aged for 2 years in small oak barrels.  Alcohol 13.2%.  A little stink.  Rounder and softer yet there is a good edge in there.  Good flavor with developing blue fruit.  A savory wine.  *** Now.

Must-Try Gigondas from Domaine Palon

September 23, 2019 Leave a comment

Domaine Palon is a small estate with vineyards in Gigondas and Vacqueyras.  The family has produced wine since the 1930s but only began to bottle under their own label in 2003.  The two bottles featured in this post are my first experience with their Gigondas.  I will admit to being surprised when I took my first sip of the 2015 Domaine Palon, Gigondas.  Gigondas can be a bit of a beast when young, yet the 2015 vintage is drinking very well with the cool, rugged nature of the appellation.  It is deep in flavor and already complex with earth and stones.  The 2015 Vacqueyras is very good too so perhaps this should not be surprising.  The 2018 Domaine Palon, Gigondas is a different wine.  It revels in clean, fresh fruit with texture on the palate and crunchy acidity.  It requires several hours to open up.  The elevage appears to have changed so I suspect this will be a different sort of wine in three years as compared to the 2015.  Grab the one which is more appealing to your palate! These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Domaine Palon, Gigondas – $27
Imported by Misa Imports.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Aromas of spiced cherries and Kirsch.  In the mouth it immediately strikes a deep note with earthy blue minerals and very good maturing flavors from the start.  It is slightly spicy from the fine structure but it develops, showing Kirsch, spices, and cool fruit in the stone finish.  Dense yet beginning to mature, this is a wine to drink over the next decade.  **** Now – 2029.

2018 Domaine Palon, Gigondas – $25 at MacArthur Beverages
Imported by Misa Imports.  This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Syrah, and 5% Mourvedre of which 1/3 was aged for 6 months in foudre.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The grapey, concentrated fruit benefits from a few hours of air.  The wine reveals ripe textured tannins, creamy blue fruit, weighty flavor and deep black fruit.  There is a pebbly finish with crunchy acidity.  The wine is all in balance with a cool, fresh tilt.  Flavors of red and blue fruit oscillate with minerals into the finish.  ***(*) 2021-2031.

Random French oldies

February 22, 2019 Leave a comment

At an impromptu, informal gathering of several wine drinkers, I decided to clear out several oldies and offer one decent wine.  The 1975 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron, Pauillac smelled passed prime on the nose and tasted as such in the mouth.  Others were more tolerant.  Up next came a pair of 1988 Gigondas which came from a cellar of oddities picked up by MacArthur Beverages.  I cannot say I drank 1988 Gigondas before, being a modest vintage, but these two bottles were obviously well stored.  The 1988 Guigal, Gigondas is the modest surprise, compact and still retaining a core of fruit. The 1988 Domaine Santa Duc, Gigondas has an edge up.  It is less fruity but more complex.  I would not seek any of these wines out but they served a purpose that night.  For Lou, I served the 1990 Olga Raffault, Les Picasses, Chinon.  It is a lovely wine, in full prime.

1975 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron, Pauillac
Shipped by Rineau.  Imported by The Rineau Wines.  Alcohol 11%.  Advanced on the nose, it remains a bit stinky and is passed prime in flavor.  Drinkable I suppose.  Not Rated.

1988 Guigal, Gigondas
Imported by Classic Wine Imports.  Obviously well-stored.  Initially a bit stinky on the nose it cleans up with air.  A surprisingly rugged, pure core of bluer fruits and compact structure.  A simpler, modern style that provides decent drinking at 30 years of age.  ** Now.

1988 Domaine Santa Duc, Gigondas
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  More complex with a blend of cool blue fruits and structure.  Robust with mouth coating tannins and good acidity.  Evocative of Gigondas.  Less fruity but more expansive.  ** Now.

1990 Olga Raffault, Les Picasses, Chinon
A good, medium-body with some density yet there is also levity.  With mature flavors of earth, tobacco, and leaves there is still fruit and life to last a long time.  It slowly unfurls in the glass.  Concentrated in a way yet elegant.  **** Now – 2029.

Mature Gigondas for Christmas Eve

December 29, 2018 Leave a comment

I am indebted to Phil at MacArthur Beverages for selling me a few bottles of mature Gigondas.  The labels look a bit ratty as the Santa Duc was leaked upon and the Brusset is ripped but they came from a good cellar.  The fills and corks were spot on. I opened the bottles for our Christmas Eve dinner which included venison backstrap from two deer my brother-in-law hunted in Nebraska.

The 1989 and 1990 vintages in Gigondas, indeed in the Southern Rhone in general, produced excellent wines.  These wines are in fine shape, clearly mature, yet nowhere near declining.    They are evocative of fruit from cooler vineyard sites and rustic tannins compared to Chateauneuf du Pape from the same vintages.  The 1989 Domaine Santa Duc, Gigondas is my favorite of the pair.  It offers more fruit and fruit weight, which, when combined with the fat, earth, and leather, balances out the rustic tannins.  The 1990 Domaine Brusset, Les Hauts de Montmirail, Gigondas is fresher and brighter but does not have the depth of fruit nor complexity.  Both provided many hours of enjoyment, out of decanter, until the wee hours of Christmas Day.  It is a new reference point for mature Gigondas.

1989 Domaine Santa Duc, Gigondas
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  This is a blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, and 15% Mourvedre source from vines averaging 40 years of age.  It spent 12 months in old oak casks.  Alcohol 13%.  Aromatic with earth and leather.  In the mouth are clean flavors of red and blue fruit made attractive by hints of round fat.  There are still fine and ripe tannins which lend to the rustic, Gigondas personality.  With air it becomes more blue fruited in flavor.  In fine shape with plenty of drinkable fruit and complexity.  **** Now – 2028.

1990 Domaine Brusset, Les Hauts de Montmirail, Gigondas
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections. This wine is a blend of 55% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre, and 5% Cinsault sourced from 25 year old vines.  It was raised for 12 months in 100% new French oak.  Alcohol 13%.  Fresh and bright with an edge of cranberry flavor.  There is lively acidity with the regional gravelly tannins in the end.  Tons of grip with minerals.  ***(*) Now but will last for many years.

New arrivals from Domaine La Boussiere

You will be well-served if you stock up on the latest released from Domaine La Boussiere. They are classically robust wines yet there is plenty of deep fruit and lively acidity which makes them attractive right now. For current and future drinking grab the 2015 Domaine La Boussiere, Vacqueyras. This is a fine value which should drink well throughout its life. The 2015 Domaine La Boussiere, Gigondas is properly the more structured of the two and will benefit the most from age. It is best revisited a few years down the road. You may find both at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Domaine La Boussiere, Vacqueyras – $27
Imported by Dionysos Imports. This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, 42% Grenache, and 8% Mourvedre.  Alcohol 14.5%. Quite aromatic with fruit and floral notes. There is youthfully robust fruit which comes across as clean in flavor. The wine is mineral with ripe texture and a fat infused finish which eventually reveals the structure. Plenty of attractive, hard to resist flavor. ***(*) Now – 2028.

2015 Domaine La Boussiere, Gigondas – $30
Imported by Dionysos Imports. This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, and 30% Syrah sourced from 51 year old vines.  Alcohol 14.5%. A robust wine with blue and red fruit, lively acidity, and a mixture of minerals and baking spices before the finish. The structure is briefly noticeable before returning as it dries the gums throughout the long aftertaste. With air the wine rounds out becoming savory with blue and black fruits. Will reward a few years of age. ***(*) 2020 – 2030.

Three fine values from Gigondas

March 21, 2018 1 comment

All three 2015 Gigondas in this post are of fine value.  The 2015 Domaine  Le Clos des Cazaux, La Tour Sarrasine, Gigondas is well balanced all around with depth to the powdery fruit, notes of stone, and requisite structure for development.  And the price is low!  The 2015 Domaine Brusset, Tradition Le Grand Montmirail, Gigondas is classically firm and certainly requires age.  I particularly like the savory aspect and licorice note.  Finally, the 2015 Saint-Damien, Vieilles Vignes, Gigondas is impossible to resist for the earthy note already adds complexity to the blue fruit.  It even gets better with air!  You may grab these bottles from MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Domaine  Le Clos des Cazaux, La Tour Sarrasine, Gigondas – $24
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre sourced from vines averaging 50 years of age.  Alcohol 14.5%.  A brighter wine of powdery blue fruit that forms a rounded and dense core of flavor.  The wine moves on towards black fruit and stones with the structure and astringency coming out by the finish.  With air the powdery flavors persist and a slight chocolate note comes out in the finish.  Good value.  ***(*) Now – 2028.

2015 Domaine Brusset, Tradition Le Grand Montmirail, Gigondas – $
Imported by Simon N Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, and 10% Cinsault fermented in vats and demi-muids.  Alcohol 13.5%.  With dry Christmas spices on the nose the flavors are cool and dense with black fruit and licorice.  It is a touch savory  with very fine, drying tannins.  It will benefit from a few years of age.  *** Now – 2025.

2015 Saint-Damien, Vieilles Vignes, Gigondas – $30
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre sourced from vines averaging 40 years of age which was fermented in concrete vats then aged in foudres.  Alcohol 15%.  A floral nose.  The firm start immediately offers some very fine structure as well as a good earthy flavor and blue, creamy fruit.  The finish sports dry baking spices.  The earth pervades underneath with clean yet firm fruit overlaying it.  With air this mouth filling and generous wine adds in potpourri and a little fat.  **** Now – 2028.