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Flat front label of wine

Domaine Giraud Les Grenaches de Sixte Vieilles Vignes 2011

Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
  • RP92
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Les Grenaches de Sixte is the latest wine from Giraud. Marie and Fracois had been search of vines in the Cotes du Rhone for quite some time. They discovered the 60-year-old Grenache vines of Sixte terraced on sandy soils and fell madly in love. Not only was the land rich, filled with indigenous flowers, grasses, trees, plants and herbs, but the wine was elegant and remarkable with lush, red fruit jam on the palate. Naturally, the name "Sixte" is after the name of its origin in the Cotes du Rhone.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
If you haven’t followed my recent reviews of Chateauneuf du Pape, Domaine Giraud is one of the up-and-coming superstars of the appellation. Run by a dynamic young couple, this is a special cuvee made for Eric Solomon that comes from Lirac, where Sixte is one of the appellation’s most famous parcels. Made from 100% Grenache aged in 66% tank and 34% in older wood, the wine possesses a dark plum/ruby/purple color, copious tannins (which I associate more with 2010 than 2011) and body, earthy, sandy, loamy soil undertones, and plenty of kirsch, pepper and lavender. This big wine reveals superb concentration and enough structure to warrant several more months of cellaring. It has the potential to last at least 5-7 years.
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Domaine Giraud

Domaine Giraud

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Domaine Giraud, Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
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The "domaine" saw the light of day thanks to Pierre and Mireille Giraud's zeal and two families coming together. The story begins in 1974 when Pierre and Mireille, as their parents did before them, took on 4 hectares (10 acres) of vines. Little by little the Domaine has grown through years exclusively on the appellation.

In 1998, Pierre was ready to pass on his love of the vine and wine to his children. Marie and François took on the estate hand-in-hand. Under their parents’ watchful eye, they devoted themselves to tending vines and winemaking. They focused their efforts on selecting parcel by parcel, doing minimal treatments, upgrading their cellar to make finer and finer wines while respecting family traditions. François tries hard to tend each parcel and variety respecting the "terroir" as much as possible, that alchemy nature provides us with, to fully express our grapes' full character.

Cotes du Rhone

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Typically though if as a baby Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the term Cotes du Rhone actually doesn’t merely apply to the flatter outskirts of that and other more major southern Rhone appellations, it also includes the fringes of well-respected northern Rhone appellations. White can be produced under the appellation name, but very little is actually made.

The region offers some of the best values in France and even some first-rate and age-worthy reds. Red varieties include most of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape varieties like Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsaut, and Counoise, as well as Carignan. White grapes grown include Grenache blanc, Roussanne and Viognier, among others.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red 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, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

STC679976_2011 Item# 121902