Jean-Michel Vache has an enviable spread of sun-trapped vineyards, a parcel of which is planted with old Syrah vines. The hot summers and fully-exposed vines usually prompt a Vacqueyras harvest up to two weeks earlier than that of the cooler hilly sites of Gigondas. These often baking hot conditions during the growing season mean that less conscientious viticulteurs can produce rustic, fully-charged red wines where the lack of balance makes more than one glass over dinner a virtual impossibility! Luckily Jean-Michel is not one of these, in fact quite the opposite. His passion for good wine prevents him from allowing his grapes to over-ripen and from using any split or unhealthy ones for fermentation, which often affects purity of flavour and acidity levels. Acidity and purity are further preserved by maturation of all of the wines in steel and concrete vat. The delicious Templiers is made mainly from old vines Syrah displaying great depth, richness and fi nesse. The complex, structured and powerful Gigondas La Tour Sarrazine, which only comes from vines high up in the Dentelles, is a full-flavoured Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre blend that demonstrates the harmonising effect of good fruit and acidity in a wine.
A Southern Rhône appellation producing some excellent value red wines similar in style to Châteauneuf-du-Pape based on the Grenache grape, but often blended with Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault. There are just over 1000 ha of vineyard, divided between the sandy soils around the village itself and the higher, later-ripening rugged limestone soils of the stunning the Dentelles de Montmirail hills. The altitude here means that Gigondas is often one of the last areas to be harvested in the South, up to a week later than in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It was the first of the Côtes du Rhône-Villages to be promoted to its own Appellation, in 1971. There are a small handful of growers making very good wine in the village itself, Domaine du Cayron being one of them, in addition may fine growers in nearby Vacqueyras, such as Clos de Cazaux, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, including the Bruniers of Vieux Telegraphe, also make some excellent examples.