Tasting Group: Gigondas



By Kori ~ June 1st, 2010.

Since we live in Washington State and often drink wines from Washington State, we want to make sure that we continue to hone our knowledge of the entire world of wine and maintain well-rounded palates in order to make us even more objective when we evaluate wines from Washington State. Therefore, we are thoroughly enjoying our Wine Peeps Tasting Group which includes what we think is an excellent peer group of knowledgeable wine lovers to taste, share, and learn more about wine together. Unlike our monthly wine tasting dinners in which the guests rotate, this tasting group includes people who are committed to getting together once a month which we believe benefits all of us. In addition to trying varieties and regions that we do not taste frequently, the other main difference between this group and our wine tasting dinners is that each group member brings a bottle consistent with the month’s theme so no one knows all the wines in the blind tasting.

Last week, we met and explored Gigondas. The Gigondas AOC is located in the southern Rhône of France. It is primarily a red wine region with a small amount of rosé wine produced. Gigondas is like a little brother to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. According to the INAO, Gigondas red wine is to be made from a maximum of 80 percent Grenache, a minimum 15 percent Syrah and/or Mourvedre, and a maximum 10 percent from the other Rhône varietals, minus Carignan. Gigondas is formerly a Côtes du Rhone-Villages and was the first to achieve cru status. Gigondas is known for its power rather than its elegance. Some parts of the region are warmer than Châteauneuf-du-Pape, bringing the Grenache grape close to fortified strength in alcohol. The greatest Gigondas wines can be kept for ten years or more in the cellar and usually benefit from at least three years of aging.

We tasted six wines and the unanimous favorite was the 2007 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas. Saint Cosme is one of the oldest estates in the Gigondas region. Lying on the site of an ancient Gallo-Roman villa, which probably had its own vineyard, Saint Cosme was officially established by the Barruol family in 1570. Saint Cosme’s current winemaker, Louis Barruol, is considered one of the southern Rhône’s most talented young winemakers.

Well, it was bound to happen. As you’ll notice in the tasting notes below, we had two bottles of the exact same wine, the 2006 Domaine du Cayron Gigondas, and they were not rated or ranked the same way. The crazy thing is that these two wines tasted nothing alike. Even after we unveiled them and re-tasted the two wines, we all thought that they were very different. We examined the bottles to see if we could determine if the wines were from different lots. From what we could tell on the bottles, they appeared to be the same, same wine, same vintage, same lot. Even so, they were both good. It is not as if one of the bottles was flawed; they were simply different. One possible explanation is that the two corks have had different oxidation rates. Just one of the many things that keeps the world of wine interesting.

If you’ve never had a Gigondas or are looking for a more economical alternative to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, I encourage you to give Gigondas a try.

From 1st to last in the group consensus rankings:

2007 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas (Gigondas, Rhône Valley, France): 67% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 12% Mourvedre, and 1% Cinsault. Deep, purplish red. Very aromatic with gorgeous red fruit aromas. Red and black fruits, spice, and pepper come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied and lively with medium to high, chewy tannins. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of five)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Esquin Wine Merchants (Seattle, Washington), $38; Available elsewhere, $28 to $45

2006 Saint-Damien Gigondas (Gigondas, Rhône Valley, France): Medium-deep ruby red. Nose is a bit tight at first, then red fruits and a hint of vanilla come through. Spice, black cherry, blackberry, and black plums on the palate. Medium to full-bodied and lively with medium to high tannins and a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of five)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, Washington), $28.99; Available elsewhere, $24 to $33

2006 Domaine du Cayron Gigondas (Gigondas, Rhône Valley, France): 70% Grenache, 15% Cinsault, 14% Syrah, and 1% Mourvedre. Medium ruby red. Very aromatic with distinctive floral, kiwi fruit, and guava aromas. Cherry, raspberry, and a hint of tropical flavors. Medium to full-bodied and crisp with medium, drying tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of five)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, Washington), $32.99; Available elsewhere, $25 to $26

2006 Perrin & Fils Gigondas La Gille (Gigondas, Rhône Valley, France): Medium-deep ruby red. Cherry and cinnamon on the nose; cherry, raspberry, and red plum on the palate. Medium to full-bodied and crisp with medium tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of five)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, Washington), $30.79; Available elsewhere, $20 to $29

2006 Domaine du Cayron Gigondas (Gigondas, Rhône Valley, France): 70% Grenache, 15% Cinsault, 14% Syrah, and 1% Mourvedre. Medium ruby red. Nose is a bit tight, only alcohol on the nose at first. Red fruits, particularly strawberries and raspberries, on the palate. Medium-bodied and crisp with medium tannins, and a long, slightly bitter, finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of five)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, Washington), $32.99; Available elsewhere, $25 to $26

2006 Domaine Les Pallieres Gigondas (Gigondas, Rhône Valley, France): Medium ruby red. Moderate red fruit aromas. Tasted a bit like cherry cough syrup. Medium-bodied and crisp with medium tannins and a long, bitter finish. Slight effervescence on the back end and a bit hot.
Quality: 3 stars (out of five)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Available from various retailers, $25 to $40


Filed under: Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, French Wine, Grenache, Red Wine, Tasting Group, Wines Over $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival | June 1st, 2010 at 7:10 am

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  2. Stevie | June 1st, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    I love Southern Rhone wines! We’re especially fans of Chateauneuf du Pape. I wrote a story about that on my blog.

    I’m not surprised that you preferred the ’07 St Cosme Gigondas. St Cosme is an excellent producer. Have you tried their 2007 St Joseph? Wonderful!

    But also 2007 was thought to be a far superior year than 2006 in that region of France. All of your other wines come from that lesser vintage. It’d be really interesting to see you taste all Gigondas 2007′s. Love you’re blog!

  3. Kori | June 2nd, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Stevie,
    I haven’t tried their 2007 St. Joseph. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the 2006 vs. 2007 vintage. Since everyone brings a bottle to our group, unless we specify vintage, it’s just up to chance what we’ll have. I must say though, that the store I went to had four different Gigondas, all 2006. I’ll be sure to try some more 07′s. Cheers!

  4. dieting | June 23rd, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Outstanding?: that had been definitely thorough, thank you.