A ripe, red berry and flower nose, the palate is equally perfumed; fruity strawberry, sloe, cherry liqueur, bilberry and cassis fruit with bright touches of red cherry, complex nuances of herb and menthol on the finish. This represents the usual blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Cinsault, 14% Syrah and 1% Mourvèdre, from plots on the high, limestone vineyards of the Dentelles, as well as lower-lying sandy vineyards closer to the village of Gigondas. Ageing is in large old oak cask after a traditional fermentation, stalks and all. 2011 yielded wines that are extremely pretty, ripe and floral, destined for early to medium term drinking.
The tranquil town of Gigondas sits at the foot of the imposing Dentelles de Montmirail. Some look on Gigondas as a poor man’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape and although prices are frequently lower than its renowned neighbour, Gigondas can produce wines that equal if not surpass it. This is undoubtedly the case with the wines of Michel Farraud and his three daughters. He produces just the one cuvée – an excellent value for money wine.The secret of his success is simply hard work. He gets things right in the vineyard, restricting yields and discarding grapes while, in what can frankly be described as a bit-part cellar, he lets the wine rest in old wooden casks for a year. Michel doesn’t fine or filter his traditional Southern Rhône blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault which gives the wine its unbridled array of chocolate, black truffle, coffee bean and black cherry flavours.
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.