Given how long and extensively we have worked with the Rhone, and the southern Rhone in particular, it’s a little surprising that this is only our second go around with this stylish Gigondas estate. Our first foray, the 2010 Gour de Chaule Gigondas was a huge hit and lot of boxes disappeared from the old location. This is actually the first volley in the newer spot, and the price is a little bit more than it was five years ago (that’s to be expected), but we are big fans of what this estate is doing.
The fact sheet reads something like this, with deference to the importer’s extensive and accessible information. The Domaine du Gour de Chaulé, situated in the heart of the village of Gigondas, was founded in 1900 by Eugene Bonfils, the great-grandfather of the current proprietor, Stephanie Fumoso. All the wine produced at the estate was sold in bulk to negociants until 1970 when Madame Rolande Beaumet, Eugene’s daughter and the grandmother of the current owner, Stéphanie, began to bottle a small percentage of the estate’s wine for sale to private clients.
Madame Beaumet’s daughter, Aline Bonfils, took the reins of the domaine in the early 1980s and it was she that broadened the tradition of estate bottling significantly. Stephanie was at the helm when we flipped over that 2010, and we were immediately captivated by a wine that, while it had all of the moxie one would expect from a Gigondas, it also had a polished presence that was considerably less ‘rough and tumble’ than most of the other ‘local produce’.
Were going to go out on a limb and suggests that a woman’s touch is clearly evident here (are we allowed to say that any more?) as the wine has the size and substance to stand among most Gigondas, but without the gritty tannins that are so often a part of wines from this appellation. Dark berries, stony minerality, pepper, and garrigue here, typicite is not an issue but this is a more white tablecloth version of the genre.
This Grenache based cuvee comes from three separate plots with the average vine age approaching age 60. Yields are most and the grapes are hand harvested, never destemmed, and sees no new oak. The wine is put into large foudres for 18 months before it is bottled unfiltered and unfined. Bottom line, this is a classy example from an often rustic area.
This is still kind of an under-the-radar property in the broad market, but the media is starring to take notice. Wine Advocate’s Joe Czerwinski had this to say, “Still in foudres and concrete, the 2015 Gigondas Cuvee Tradition is incredibly creamy, ripe and fresh. This full-bodied wine is bursting with ripe Grenache fruit, while the finish displays plush tannins. It’s not hugely complex—or maybe the fruit is just covering some of that complexity right now—but it sure is delicious…90-92 points.” He got the delicious part right, but that review was posted in Oct., 2017, which means it was tasted well before that. A lot can change in a year and a half (or more).
Even more upbeat was the prose from Josh Raynolds of Vinous, “Brilliant ruby. A heady bouquet evokes ripe red and blue fruits, Indian spices and smoky minerals, along with a hint of candied lavender in the background. Deeply concentrated yet energetic black raspberry, boysenberry and spicecake flavors unfold slowly, picking up a licorice quality that expands on the back half. Shows excellent clarity and mineral cut on a sweet, seamless finish shaped by smooth tannins…92-94 points.”
We know a lot of folks out there aren’t necessarily convinced by ‘barrel scores’. We tasted the Domaine du Gour de Chaule Gigondas 2015 out of the bottle. It’s delicious, complex and all we can say is ‘you go, girl’.