Bosquets is under the ownership of the Brechet family – along with the Perrin family of Beaucastel fame the Brechets (descendants of the massive land owning Gabriel Meffre) are one of the most important and successful in the region – The family own no less than four wine estates including Vaudieu in Chateuneuf. The Bosquets estate comprising 26ha on the hill, was purchased in 1962 and is run by the young Julian Brechet with some style. (Julian’s career has embraced being a champion rally driver as well as talented winemaker). Today the wine making cave is super modern – entirely rebuilt in the mid 1990’s, its ergonomically designed circular floor plan and gravity feed layout was later adopted by newcomers Domaine de Mourchon when the McKinleys arrived at the end of the 90’s. There is a growing range of wines on offer: the red “Tradition”, a benchmark example of the Gigondas AOC and now two top cuvées – Lieu Dit and La Colline. Both these latter wines are pure Grenache, hefty intense wines which will need time to show their full merit but already in younger vintages showing elegance to latch their brawn. Julian is a constant experimenter and the Colline was born from his conviction that this particular hilly “lieu dit” (named place) could render a wine with a quite different characteristics– he’s not wrong. The Lieu Dit, first made in 2009 on a plot, reputedly the oldest in the appellation, is a big brooding monster -made in tiny quantities and with a minute yield -its proved a huge hit with many of our guests who have tasted it. Bosquets also make a very refined Rosé, with the color and aromatics of a rosé from the cote d’azur but with the full summer fruit flavor of a Tavel. The recently added white Cotes du Rhone (80% Grenache blanc/20% Roussanne) – for political reasons Gigondas producers can only turn out CdeR wines for their whites, even though many are wonderful wines – is very good and getting better now the new oak influence has eased.
Jaufrette is possibly the most old fashioned set up that I ever take my guests to. The Chasten family own land in Chateauneuf – just 4ha there and a further 25ha split between Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Cotes du Rhone. Current principal wine maker is the delightful Fred Chastan who is based in Orange with his young family though the wine itself , from all their aocs, are made adjacent to his parents property located in the north east of the Chateauneuf aoc– the terroir here is superb, it butts right up against neighbours Chateau Beaucastel on clay and galet roulé. Since 2014 all the wines are certified organic. Yields are extremely low, rarely exceeding 25hl per hectare even for the Cotes du Rhone. All the wines are heavily Grenache biassed, the Gigondas, for example, is 90%. No de-stemming takes place – the first sign of a traditionalist – buts its the maturation approach that really marks out Jaufrette as a watchword for tradition. The wines spend two to three years in vat, followed by 6-18 months in foudre. They are then stored in bottle until Fred deems them ready for release.At the time of writing this, end 2015, the Gigondas available for tasting /purchase is the magnificent 2007. The wines are soft, spicy, figgy, sometimes a little “animal” and very satisfying if you like this very old style – John Livingstone-Learmonth sums up with this perfectly pitched tasting note: Has a full Christmas pudding aftertaste, lengthening with gusto”. The white Vacqueyras deserves a mention: a very polished affair from mainly Clairette (72% with Grenache blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne and a little Viognier. The wines are really undiscovered gems – hardly any ends up on the export markets, most is sold to private french buyers. Well, we like you and your wines Fred!
An historic estate of located in the north of the appellation with a history of winemaking dating back to the 15th century and on a site once populated by the Romans s– ploughing regularly unearths shards of Roman pottery here. The current winemakers are husband and wife team Jean- Pierre and Martine Meffre together with their son in law Christian -Yves. Jean-Pierre’s father roger was a key driver of the appellation and along with Francois Ay was decisive in obtaining Cru status for Gigondas in 1971.The estate comprises around 30ha of land of which 16ha is Gigondas, a tiny 0.75ha is CNP, 5ha in Rasteau, 1.4ha in CdeRVillages Sablet and 11ha Cotes duRhone. The estate’s terroir is principally red clay.My introduction to this wonderful estate was first via their Rasteau sold by the British Rhone specialist Yapp Brothers – it has always been a favourite of mine. The Gigondas blend is 80%
Grenache, 15% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre. Average age of the vines around 60 years. Maturation is 12 months in demi-muids and vat. The wines are unfined and unfiltered. The Gayan style tends towards the supple and approachable – tannins can be fierce in young Gigondas but Meffre wines usually exhibit refined versions of these tannins and a balanced freshness. There are ripe fruit and layers of oak, tar, tobacco, licorice, kirsch and spice. Recent great vintages 2007 and 2010 are in my view some of the best wines of the appellation.
Goubert is one of the oldest family names in the appellation -the oldest buildings at the Domaine were mentioned in 1636. Current principal winemaker is Jean-Pierre Cartier who began working at the vineyard with his father Roger at the age of 14. These days he is ably assisted by daughter Florence, a wine commerce graduate of the Suze la Russe wine school and already given her head on certain wines, notably the rosé ( Cuvée Flo). Jean-Pierre was something of a maverick in the 1980s when his love of Burgundy wines led him to introduce new 228-litre barriques for aging as an alternative to the traditional foudre (large cask). This is still the preferred technique for raising the top cuvée “Cuvée Florence”. The terroir here is diverse – there are 23ha in total but divided between 40 plots in the hills above and around the village of Gigondas, the plateau below the village as well as the neighboring villages of Sablet and Beaumes de Venise. The classic cuvée is based on Grenache -70% with Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Clairette. The long oak aged Florence (24- 32 months) is principally Grenache with some Syrah. – the precise blend is a family secret. No fining or filtration. This cuvee is released when starting to be ready – current vintage for tasting/sale is the 2009. These wines show remarkable aging ability and are without question stars of the appellation in top vintages. The whites of Goubert shouldn’t be overlooked – fine full bodied Viognier (the cuvée “V”) and a wine named “Favoris” which blends the aromatics of Viognier with the rich mouth feel of Roussanne, delicious food white. The great value Sablet reds and whites are also well worth checking out for everyday drinking value.
Saint-Cosme has been regarded as one of the leading Gigondas producers for more than a decade now. The estate has been run by the dynamic – some might say maverick – Louis Barroul since 1992 though Saint-Cosme has been in his family since the 15th century. The property and its vineyards are located just outside the village on the track up to the spectacular Dentelles and beneath the chapel on the hill from which the estate takes its name.
The estate lays claim to being the oldest of the appellation – its Gallo-Roman fermentation vats are perfectly preserved. There are just 15 hectares but a diversity of terroirs since the estate straddles two geological faults. Louis makes three cuvees of Gigondas, a traditional cuvee based on 70% Grenache, in good years a special cuvee the “Valbelle”” aged in 40% new barrels, and the ‘Homines Fides’, 100% Grenache. In addition to these and a range of Cotes du Rhone – the distiguishing characteristic of Saint Cosme is that since 1997 it has also operated as a Negociant business, that is Louis buys in grapes from other Rhone appellations and then makes the wine at Saint-Cosme. Currently these include a Condrieu, a St.Joseph, a Cote Rotie as well as a Chateuneuf du Pape.
All the wines here are bottles without filtration. The style of Louis’s Gigondas is about elegance rather than sheer power – the wines are packed with flavour , mainly black fruit . . . especially black cherry, plus liquorice, wood smoke and grilled steaks. The Valbelle 2005 is a sumptuous wine showing it’s 40% new wood maturation with ease, muscular yes but with astonishing complexity and a long long finish. Robert Parker awarded this wine 92 points, commenting; “Its absolutely superb”.
Never one to rest on his laurels Louis Barruol has just completed building his brand new cellars – for years the domain had been lacking space in the cellar and they had to use different locations in Gigondas for ageing and storing wines but the spanking new cellars are now operational and available to view for our clients in 2008.