The Brunier brothers, Daniel and Frédéric, of the famed Vieux Télégraphe in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, were rising stars in the Southern Rhône at the time, having distinguished themselves time and time again with world class wines. A casual discussion over lunch at Chez Panisse between Daniel and Kermit Lynch, the Brunier’s longtime American importer, spontaneously turned into a game plan to revive the faded jewel—Les Pallières. Though the competition to buy the domaine was fierce with very reputable names in the mix, the Roux brothers finally decided to sell to the Bruniers and Kermit. After decades of neglect, Pallières’ renaissance had begun.
A focus on the terroir and its potential soon led to a clear, new direction. The vineyards range from 250-400 meters in altitude, with varying proportions of sand and clay interwoven with limestone scree descending from the Dentelles. Terraces were built and reinforced, allowing for better water retention. A new winery was built to receive the harvested parcels individually in gravity-fed tanks. The many lieux-dits, once blended into one cuvée of Gigondas, have been separated into two, starting with the 2007 vintage, in an effort to best express two remarkable personalities. Cuvée “Terrasse du Diable,” encompasses the low-yielding vines from the higher altitudes that express great structure and intense minerality. Cuvée “Les Racines” showcases the vineyard parcels surrounding the winery—the origin of the domaine with the oldest vines—with the emphasis on freshness and extravagant cornucopian fruit.
Domaine Les Pallières has become a partnership among friends, a real meeting of the minds—a creative collaboration of three leading, passionate experts on the wines of the Rhône. View all Domaine les Pallieres Wines
About GigondasView a map of Gigondas wineries (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.