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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A lively blend of Grenache, Syrah and Merlot made in a fruity, easy-drinking style. This selection captures the freshness and precision of the 2010 vintage with the fruit-forward, plush roundness of the south-spicy, balanced and perfectly Provencal. more
Easily one of the most complete, balanced and expressive wines of the southern Rhone. A rich, saturated and juicy blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, from the rocky cliffs of the granite Dentelles de Montmirail. We're going to be stocking this one away for decades; it is a blockbuster today and... more
Easily one of the top wines of the appellation-sultry, saturated and very aromatic. Winemaker Thierry Faravel blends two distinct vineyards on the plateau of Vacqueyras, as this higher perch keeps vines cooler while delivering precise, fresh and savory fruit. A rich blend of 60% Grenache, 20%... more
Luscious, dark and dense, this is midnight in the glass and manna on the tongue. A blend of 40% Merlot, 35% Syrah and 25% Grenache. Deep, black fruits such as boysenberry take on an almost syrup-like richness, with mineral highlights that make this wine completely fresh and alive. Great balance,... more
The grapes for this special cuvee hail from some of the highest terraces in the Dentelles de Montmirail. A blend of 70% Grenache (50-year-old vines) and 30% Mourvedre (75-year-old vines), aged 100% in barrel on fine lees. The font, or fountain, refers to a picturesque site in the family vineyards... more
A magnificent blend of two distinct vineyards on the plateau of Vacqueyras-while Bel Air delivers ripe, youthful and vibrant fruit, La Ponche serves up the rich purple, almost royal, robe of the appellation with notes of tar, licorice and poached plums. The power of these two vineyards together was... more
A blend of Grenache, Syrah and a touch of Mourvedre, hand-harvested and sorted from multiple passes from a steep mountain vineyard perched on the sides of the Dentelles de Montmirail; aged primarily in older barrels. A knock-out wine. more
The grapes for this special cuvee hails from some of the highest terraces in the Dentelles de Montmirail. A blend of 70% Grenache (50-year-old vines) and 30% Mourvedre (75-year-old vines), aged 100% in barrel on fine lees (with 20% new wood.) Both powerful and elegant, showing a great harmony of... more
Incredibly seductive and pure, the wine opens with an expressive perfume of blueberries and licorice before it overwhelms you with a rich mouthful of sweet red/black fruits that are structured, complex and completely captivating. more