Domaine La Bouissiere Gigondas La Font de Tonin 2007
Rhone Red Blends from Gigondas, Rhone, France
The grapes for this special cuvée hail from some of the highest terraces in the Dentelles de Montmirail. A blend of 70% Grenache (50-year-old vines) and 30% Mourvèdre (75-year-old vines), aged 100% in barrel on fine lees. The "font," or fountain, refers to a picturesque site in the family vineyards so named by grandfather Antonin, the founder of the domaine. Always a cellar favorite—we've opened bottles with 10 and 15 years of age and they're still dynamic and fresh.
Wine Spectator - "Rich and dense, but rounded and accessible, with gorgeous spice, mesquite and warm ganache aromas backed by fig bread, espresso and licorice snap notes. Muscular but fresh on the finish, with a tangy iron note adding length. Drink now through 2015."
International Wine Cellar - "Opaque purple. Potent dark berry, cherry and plum aromas are underscored by smoky mineral and pungent floral qualities. Sappy, palate-staining dark berry flavors pack serious punch and gain sweetness with air. The finish refuses to let up, with the floral element strongly echoing. This is at 16.7% alcohol right now and Faravel says that "it still has some sugar to eat." Looks to be a big, serious bruiser of a wine. 90-93"
Domaine La Bouissiere Winery
Thierry and Gilles Faravel have serious mountaineer credentials in Gigondas. While other altitude-challenged winemakers stick to vineyards at the foot of the towering Dentelles de Montmirail, these brothers are proud to stake a claim further up these dizzying granite slopes.
This is mountain terroir, with cooler weather and demanding soils, a mix of limestone and clay. The family's Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre vines are mostly older (between 30 and 50 years) and are very low yielding. Because of the ideal conditions here, Thierry Faravel explained that they are the last domaine in Gigondas almost every vintage to start the harvest—the combination of exposure and altitude allows grapes to ripen slowly and evenly. What this means for the wine is more elegance and freshness, which is certainly what you'll discover in every one of the Faravels' unique mountain cuvées.
Thierry and Gilles grew up in Gigondas and learned much from their winemaking father, Antonin, who Thierry described as a “weekend winemaker.” While he worked at another domaine, Antonin would tend his family plots only on the weekends when he had free time. For almost two decades the family sold their fruit from these mountain plots, until they decided in 1979 to start bottling wines themselves.
Today, the Faravels are considered one of the leading artisan winemakers in Gigondas, if not in the whole southern Rhône valley. Since the late 80s, the family has been dedicated to organic farming, using organic fertilizers and as little sulfates as possible in their wines. “You have to respect the wine,” says Thierry, and this shows: harvest is always by hand, and wines are never pumped but led from tank to barrel via gravity. Vinification is always as natural as possible, each vintage dictating how the brothers handle each varietal through fermentation and aging. Wines are seldom fined or filtered—to quote Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, these wines are "vibrant" and utterly alive. Domaine la Bouïssiere wines, with their rich complexity and stunning freshness, definitely deserve serious real-estate in any serious cellar—10, 15 years is the norm for these impressive, long-lived cuvées.
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About Gigondas(jhee-gon-dahs) Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Notable FactsThe wines of Gigondas are muscular and robust. Kind of an old-school type wine if you will. Not concentrating on being high-tech, easy-drinking or smooth, this wine is an in-your-face red, daring the consumer to try it's spicy, leathery, soulful juice. Good producers are making wines able to age for up to 10 or 15 years, although if you like robust wines, you'll love them now too. Grenache is the main grape, making up to (but not to exceed) 80% of the wine, Syrah & Mourvedre make up the majority of the extra 20%, although some other Cote-du-Rhone varietals can be found in small amounts. Rosé is seen less in the export market, but make good, spicy, dry wines.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.