Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Hominis Fides 2017
Hominis Fides is typically the most elegant of Château de Saint Cosme’s three single-vineyard Gigondas. “Grenache grown in the sandy soil produces marvelously textured wines as well as extremely refined tannins; a very special and stylish wine,” says Louis Barruol. The wine features aromas and flavors of pepper, truffle, graphite, and smoke.
Grenache is the pale-colored, red-fruited, and potpourri-scented red grape variety of the southern Rhône and can be paired with both rustic and sophisticated dishes. Full-bodied Grenache-based wines are ideal with stews, braises, and grilled meats, while lighter versions can work well with dark fish and tomato-based dishes such as ratatouille.
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The 2017 Gigondas Hominis Fides plays in the same realm. As with the Le Claux, it’s all Grenache, not destemmed, and was brought up in roughly 30% new Burgundy barrels. Blackberries, freshly ground pepper, light gunpowder, and crushed rock notes all define the bouquet, and it’s full-bodied, powerful and concentrated on the palate. Possessing incredible elegant and ultra-fine tannins, this beauty just glides over the palate with no hard edges. Nevertheless, it has loads of structure and will benefit from 2-4 years of cellaring.
More peppery and floral than it was looking last year from barrel, the 2017 Gigondas Hominis Fides is another gorgeous Gigondas from the talented Louis Barruol. Boasting vibrant cassis fruit and hints of dark chocolate, this full-bodied, velvety-textured wine is a real beauty, showing terrific harmony and elegance on the finish.
Chateau de Saint Cosme is the leading estate of Gigondas and produces the appellation’s benchmark wines. Wine has been produced on the site of Saint Cosme since Roman times, evident by the ancient Gallo-Roman vats carved into the limestone below the chateau. The property has been in the hands of Louis Barruol’s family since 1570. Henri and Claude Barruol took over in 1957 and gradually moved Saint Cosme away from the bulk wine business. Henri was one of the first in the region to work organically beginning in the 1970s. Louis Barruol took over from his father in 1992, making a dramatic shift to quality, adding a négociant arm to the business in 1997, and converting to biodynamics in 2010.
The Southern Rhone region of Gigondas extends northwest from the notably jagged wall of mountains called the Dentelles di Montmirail, whose highest point climbs to about 2,600 feet. The region and its wines have much in common with the neighboring Chateauneuf-du-Pape except that the vineyards of Gigondas exist at higher elevation and its soils, comprised mainly of crumbled limestone from the Dentelles, often produce a more dense and robust Grenache-based red wine.
The region has a history of fine winemaking, extending back to Roman times. But by the 20th century, Gigondas was merely lumped into the less distinct zone of Côtes du Rhône Villages. However, it was first among these satellite villages to earn its own appellation, which occurred in 1971.
Gigondas reds must be between 50 to 100% Grenache with Syrah and Mourvèdre comprising the bulk of the remainder of the blend. They tend express rustic flavors and aromas of wild blackberry, raspberry, fig, plum, as well as juniper, dried herbs, anise, smoke and river rock. The best are bold but balanced, and finish with impressively sexy and velvety tannins.
The Gigondas appellation also produces rosé but no white wines.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, red Rhône blends originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley. Grenache, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre typically form the base of the blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. With some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in Priorat, Washington, Australia and California.
Tasting Notes for Rhône Blends
A Rhône blend is a dry, red wine and will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit and a plush texture. Syrah supplies dark fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy and earthy notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume and earthy flavor as well as structure and a healthy dose of color. New World examples tend to be fruit-forward in style, while those from the Old World will often have more earth, structure and herbal components on top of ripe red and blue fruit.
Perfect Food Pairings for Rhône Blends
Rhône Blends work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes, playing equally well with beef, pork, lamb or game. Braised beef cheeks, grilled steak or sausages, roasted pork and squab are all fine pairings.
Sommelier Secrets for Rhône Blends
Some regions like to put their own local spin on the red Rhône blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.