February 3, 2007

2000 E. Guigal Gigondas, Cotes-du-Rhone, France

The Cotes du Rhone region in southern France is incredibly diverse when it comes to wine, with much more flexibility in the wines that can be produced throughout the area... as compared to the regions of Bordeaux or Burgundy. The Rhone stretches from south of Lyon, France all the way to the Mediterranean and the wines that come out of the area range from big, full-bodied Chateauneuf du Pape and Cote Rotie in the north to lighter, more fruit forward wines like Crozes Hermitage in the south. Gigondas is located in the south, and the wines from here are a favorite as Gigondas rouge presents many qualities that make it not only great with food, but very flexible with what will work well with it.

To me, Gigondas is a terrific alternative to the much more expensive wines of Chateauneuf du Pape. Both offer complex, bigger style wines, but the wines of Gigondas usually go overlooked next to more famous and recognized Rhone neighbors. Vineyards and wineries in Gigondas date back to Roman times a it was the Romans who saw the potential to grow intense, concentrated grapes that take advantage of the abundant Mediterranean sun and the rich alluvial clays that make up the soil. Great combination. The grapes that thrive in this area and that comprise Gigondas are Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre - all grapes that tend to like the sun and warmer weather. This wine is made up of a blend that is 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 25% Mourvedre.

We opened this bottle and decanted for about 45 minutes. When we poured our glasses we both noticed how deeply purple the wine is, but not as dark and inky as some of the 100% Syrah's that we have had recently. The nose was really interesting, with hints of dried apricots, anise and green peppers. There is a distinct vegetal quality to the nose that we really like. Smelling again later, after a couple sips, I picked up a really subtle sweetness to the nose that was behind apricot and green peppers and I can only describe it as the smell of canned fruit right after you open the can. The palate was rich, velvety and full-bodied. We tasted green peppers more intensely than in the nose, balanced by cassis and brighter raspberry flavors. The finish is long with tastes of chocolate and cedar. This wine was good, but it had sharper edges to it that we know will mellow with age. I think that the 2000 is drinking well now, we enjoyed it, but this would be a vintage to investigate again in five to ten years. My guess is those sharp edges will have softened and will be replaced by more richness and depth.

cost - $29.99

winecommado rating (1-10) - 7.5

No comments: