Nine years ago I found that the 1999 Domaine La Bouissiere, Gigondas had a “chunky, rusticity that matches the fall weather.” I enjoyed it, bought more, and recently tried another bottle. It is now robust and rugged with ample fruit so it has held up all of these years. It will never approach the complexity of a Chateauneuf du Pape but it certainly has plenty of attractive personality. And yes, it is a great selection for the fall.
1999 Domaine La Bouissiere, Gigondas
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. Alcohol 14%. This wine boasts the good robustness and rugged weight of a traditional wine from Gigondas. There are dense, strong fruit flavors, nutmeg spices, and some roast earth too. Its an attractive wine with fine perfumed wood. If I criticise then the weight of the wine could use a touch more acidity. *** Now though will last but not improve.
It was last summer that Phil first imported two wines from Domes de Pasquiers. This summer we are treated to a pair from the 2014 vintage. The 2014 Domaine de Pasquiers, Cotes du Rhones is a wine for now. It is fresh and grapey both on the nose and in the mouth. While it needs a few hours of air to show best, you should make sure to finish the bottle in one sitting. It is good value at $12. The 2014 Domaine de Pasquiers, Gigondas is in a similar vein but with more focused blue and black fruit than grapey character. It is a clean, non-funky type of Gigondas that will drink best over the next several years. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2014 Domaine de Pasquiers, Cotes du Rhones – $12
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is a blend of Grenache and Syrah. Alcohol 14%. The scented nose is grapey and with air develops aromas of campfire smoke. In the mouth this grapey wine has watering acidity that makes you salivate by the finish. There is a nice fresh flavor with some spices. It responds well to air drinking best after two to three hours. This is a wine for drinking young and in one go. ** Now – 2019.
2014 Domaine de Pasquiers, Gigondas – $20
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. Alcohol 14%. This is a grapey Gigondas which steps up the level of seriousness by showing a bit of black minerals and more focus. The primary impression are the flavors of fresh blue and black fruit. I would let this age another year to open up and gain complexity. **(*) 2017 – 2022.
I have just a quick post for today. The 2013 Lavau, Gigondas is a clean, contemporary Gigondas which you can drink right now. It still sports some robustness to carry you through these chilly Spring days. I think there is a touch more potential with the 2014 Domaine de Berane, Les Blaques, Cotes de Ventoux. With air it shows an appealing mixture of intensity, weight, and creaminess. If you can only afford one bottle then grab this one. It will show best in a year or two so if you try it now then give it several hours of air. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2013 Lavau, Gigondas – $20
Imported by Monsieur Touton. This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre. Alcohol 14.5%. This is a creamy with fruit that tastes of young vines. The tart flavors mix with baking spices and plenty of ripe tannins which provide for a somewhat robust finish. Quite appealing in an easy drinking way. **(*) Now – 2021.
2014 Domaine de Berane, Les Blaques, Cotes de Ventoux – $15
Imported by Wine Traditions. This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache which is fermented and aged in cement tanks. There is intensity to the grapey, black fruit which is supported by mid palate weight. With it there is a Big Red and citrus pith note in the middle. With air it takes on a little cream and a touch more weight. **(*) Now – 2022.
The 2013 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Cuvee Jules Rochebonne, Cotes du Rhone is the latest vintage of a cuvee I have long liked. The flavors will evoke previous vintages but this 2013 offering is a bit firm with less intensity. It is still a wine worthing drinking for its flavor. A sound value in black, minerally Gigondas is the 2012 Domaine Le Clos des Cazaux, La Tour Sarrasine, Gigondas. This is quite tight with a does of tannins typical of Gigondas so give it a few years in the cellar. I was not prepared for the beautiful nose and flavors of the 2014 Domaine de Coste Chaude, Cuvee Madrigal, Cotes du Rhone Villages Visan. This floral wine already shows good complexity all around but should please for several more years to come. If you want to drink liquid rocks then look no further than the 2013 Lafage, Tessellae, Cotes Catalanes. This lovely value should hit its stride later this year. Priced at $12 the 2013 Kermit Lynch, Cypress Cuvee, Cotes du Rhone will provide a bit of everything you may want from a Cotes du Rhone. Drink this gentle wine by the case. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2013 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Cuvee Jules Rochebonne, Cotes du Rhone – $18
Imported by Simon N’ Cellars. This wine is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache. The former was aged for 18 months in stainless steel tanks and the later for 18 months in oak barrels. Alcohol 14.5%. The good nose smells of perfumed young fruit. In the mouth this wine is definitely firm with a dose of tannins. The flavors are lighter but true to the cuvee. It wraps up with another dose of structure, some vanilla, and a bit of roughness. **(*) 2017-2023.
2012 Domaine Le Clos des Cazaux, La Tour Sarrasine, Gigondas – $20
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%. There is a dark start before red and eventually black, mineral flavors come out. There is a touch of inky lipstick. This is a rather mineral wine with dry flavors. Clearly young, this leaves very fine tannins on the gums. ***(*) 2018-2023.
2014 Domaine de Coste Chaude, Cuvee Madrigal, Cotes du Rhone Villages Visan – $15
Imported by DS Trading Company. This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, and 30% Syrah. Alcohol 14.5%. The nose is floral with young spiced fruit. Actually, it is quite beautiful. The purple and black fruited flavors are dry with a persistant floral quality. The flavors build in ripeness yet there is a dry texture through the finish. The acidity, though integrated, is very much present. With air the wine takes on more weight with minerals and a very dry, firm, bitter flavored finish. *** Now – 2020.
2013 Lafage, Tessellae, Cotes Catalanes – $15
Imported by Eric Solomon/ European Cellars. This wine is 100% old-vine Carignan sourced from schist soils. Alcohol 14.5%. The bright, yet firm black and red fruit took some some black, ripe flavors by the finish. The wine tastes as if sourced from stone soils with watering acidity and a building intensity of minerals and stones. Needs a wee bit of age to open up. **(*) 2016-2020.
2013 Kermit Lynch, Cypress Cuvee, Cotes du Rhone – $12
Imported by Kermit Lynch. This blend of mostly Grenache with Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvedre is sourced from vines averaging 40 years of age. It was fermented and aged in cement tanks. Alcohol 13.5 %. The linear black fruit flavors have a ripeness matched by the coarse tannins. The wine becomes gentler towards the finish with a light amount of structure and watering acidity suitable for a wee bit of age. I just wish the fruit intensity stepped up at the end. ** 2016-2019.
With the end of the year approaching I thought it appropriate to start drinking some of the lesser bottles that I have as well as those of which I have several. The 1991 A. Rafanelli Winery, Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County came from the Earthquake Cellar. Though in stellar condition it initially tasted of rather acidic, bright red fruit. I thought it a goner so I switched to the double-decanted 2007 Chateau Pesquie, Quintessence, Ventoux. This bottle of Pesquie delivered the goods both with aromas and in the saline accented flavors. It is a large-framed, robust wine that does not fall victim to the high alcohol level. Many hours later, the Rafanelli fleshed out with cherry flavors that balanced the acidity along with attractive wood notes from age. It ultimately came across as reasonably youthful with only the menthol aspect confirming its age.
Also from the 1990s is the 1998 Viking Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon which we last tasted in 2008. This soft, old wine still sported jammy berries with enough acidity to keep it together. The two wines from the 1990s were enjoyable enough to finish and while worthy of the experience, I would not bother seeking them out. Finally, the 2004 Domaine des Espiers, Cuvee Tradition, Gigonda remains a solid enough, modern wine as it did when last tasted in 2011. Perhaps not the most exciting quartet of wines but I do not mind. I just received a slew of wines from 1947 through 1985 which I will be opening up this winter. These bottles should be tons of fun!
1991 A. Rafanelli Winery, Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
Alcohol 13.8%. After a few hours of air the nose became attractive with sweet, old scents of leather and wood box. Though acidic at first this wine fleshed out with cherry fruit, some weight, and watering acidity through the back of the toast. It showed hints of ripe wood and a menthol finish. ** Now.
1998 Viking Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. Alcohol 12.8%. This licorice flavored wine was rounded and a little soft with jammy berries in the finish. The flavors mixed with old wood, old perfume, and a finish of minimal tannins and menthol freshness. The acidity was bound in the softness, giving it just enough liveliness. ** Now.
2004 Domaine des Espiers, Cuvee Tradition, Gigondas
Imported by the Country Vintner. Alcohol 14.5%. Though this developed some nuanced flavors, it largely remained firm. It was quite tannic at first then firm black and red fruit came out. The watering acidity transitioned to a modern finish with a good dose of fine, drying tannins on the tongue. Not too interesting of a wine. ** Now – 2022.
2007 Chateau Pesquie, Quintessence, Ventoux
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars. This wine is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache. Alcohol 15%. Aromatic on the nose and rich in the mouth with saline infused black and red fruit. Weighty but not overbearing, this wine is taking on bottle aged complexity but still has the vigor of youth. It has some attractive raciness right now but I think it will benefit from several more years of age. ***(*) Now – 2025.
The 2012 Domaine de Font-Sane, Cuvee Tradition, Gigondas is my kind of wine from Gigondas. It is substantive and structured without smacking of new oak, it reveals complexity with air, and is priced within budget. Buy many bottles because it is enjoyable in youth and will age for more than a decade. This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.
2012 Domaine de Font-Sane, Cuvee Tradition, Gigondas – $22
Imported by Simon N’ Cellars. This wine is a blend of 72% Grenache, 23% Syrah, 3% Mourvedre, and 2% Cinsault that was aged for 8 months in oak casks. Alcohol 15%. There are black and red fruit aromas on the nose with deep hints of complexity. In the mouth the savory fruit mixes with licorice and dry tannins but still has a coating of some fat. With air the flavors become herbaceous and floral with good bright and ripe structure, and some ripe leather. This traditional Gigondas is lovely to drink, sports good weight, and develops well with air. Right-on. ***(*) Now – 2030.
The wines of Domaine Les Pallieres were amongst the first Gigondas that I cut my teeth on during university. They came back to my attention with the 1998 vintage, of which there were so many great Southern Rhone wines available at MacArthur Beverages. The two cuvees Terrasse du Diable and Les Racines are relatively newer constructs in the history of this domaine. While both of these are Grenache based wines, the former uses fruit from younger vines located on several vineyards. The later is produced using the oldest vines which are located around the winery and cellar.
The 2012 Les Pallieres, Terrasse du Diable, Gigondas packs a punch with a structure not unusual for traditional Gigondas. It is a good wine but not as memorable as the 2012 Les Pallieres, Les Racines, Gigondas. Produced from the oldest vines, Les Racines exhibits not only more depth and weight but also impeccable balance. True it also has a significant structure but this creamy, mineral, and fat accented wine leaves you wanting to drink more. With both cuvees priced the same I highly recommend you purchase Les Racines but make sure you age it for at least several more years. These wines were purchased from MacArthur Beverages.
2012 Les Pallieres, Terrasse du Diable, Gigondas – $37
This wine is a blend of 90% Grenache, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Clairette. Alcohol 14.5%. The wine was very bright and creamy showing very focused ripe black and blue fruit. It is supported by a very fine structure through the expansive finish. With air it continues to show clean fruit, some saltiness, and a smacking finish. Ultimately, this wine packs quite a structure as compared to the fruit. *** 2020-2030.
2012 Les Pallieres, Les Racines, Gigondas – $37
This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Syrah and Cinsault, and 5% Clairette. Alcohol 14.5%. This sported lower lying focused and deep black fruit. The flavors were creamy and enlivened by a Big-Red flavored tannins in the finish. This clean, textured wine had fruit matched perfectly with the fine tannins and integrated acidity. With air it showed very good weight, fat, and a minerally finish. **** 2020-2035.