Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas le Claux 2017
The soil at Le Claux is a yellowish limestone marl and produces the most “Burgundian” wine at Saint Cosme. “It’s extremely refined and fresh with lots of bouquet. Its propensity to mature is excellent,” says Barruol. The wine features aromas and flavors of wild strawberries, violet, peat, Chinese Five Spice, and camphor.
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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Just about perfection in a glass, the 2017 Gigondas Le Claux got a few expletives in my notes. Made from 100% Grenache from a loamy, limestone parcel that’s a stone’s throw from the estate, just outside the village, it boasts a deep purple color as well as stunning notes of kirsch, cassis, camphor, dried earth, ground pepper, and background oak. Deep, powerful, full-bodied and multi-dimensional on the palate, this blockbuster Gigondas is going to benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age (or more) and cruise for two decades in cool cellars.
Showing plenty of big purple fruit and hints of charred oak, the 2017 Gigondas le Claux was practically embryonic in terms of its development. Full-bodied, supple and rich, it should be approachable by 2020 and drink well for a decade or more after that.
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.