Domaine Du Cayron Michel Faraud Gigondas 2018
Blend: 78% Grenache, 14% Syrah, 6% Cinsault, 2% Mourvedre
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Highly expressive red berry and cherry preserve aromas are complemented by suggestions of garrigue, smoked meat and candied flowers. Sappy and penetrating on the palate, offering primary black raspberry, bitter cherry and spicecake flavors that show superb depth and focus. Gently gripping tannins build slowly on the impressively long, energetic finish, which leaves behind intense floral and red berry notes.
There is a sense of focus and implicity at Domaine du Cayron. "I make one wine," says Michel Faraud. There are no cuvees reserves, no declassified Cotes du Rhone, only Gigondas. Happily, Faraud's years of conservatism have paid off. His wine is one of the most loved Gigondas on the market. When frosts in 1956 destroyed many of Faraud's olive trees (Gigondas was once planted almost entirely to olives) the family decided to start from scratch and plant vines from which the Domaine takes its name. Today their vineyard plots are scattered throughout the Gigondas appellation, the best vines being in the Col du Cayron, 1500 feet above sea level, nestled into the spiky Dentelles mountains, a site which produces low yields and rich fruit.
Michel learned to make wine from his father, and he remains faithful to this old-world style, even if it means foregoing modern winery conveniences or ignoring trends of the market. "It's our wine, not theirs," says Michel. And the wines of the region are changing. "With all the new oak barrels, you can't even tell that it's Gigondas." One of his beliefs is to age his wine a couple of years in giant old oak foudres. So while other Gigondas producers are bottling and selling their current vintage, Faraud's wine still has another year to mature and develop.
After harvest, the must soaks 15 days on its skin to gain color and extract. Michel's wife and three daughters, one of whom has a degree in viticulture and enology, all help in the vineyards.
The Southern Rhône 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, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.