Domaine St. Damien Gigondas La Louisiane 2007
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
From the estate’s oldest vines, the 2007 Domaine Saint-Damien Gigondas La Louisiane, a blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, and 5% Cinsault - from 70- to 80-year-old vines - is a gorgeously structured, classic wine that’s loaded with plum and sun baked black fruits, melted licorice, bakers chocolate, toasted spice, and huge minerality. The mineral component is really something here and the image of licking a dry rock isn’t far off. Full bodied on the palate, with superb precision and focus, a rich, full texture, perfect balance, and a very long, structured finish, this straight-up awesome wine drinks well now due to the fruit, but should be incredibly long lived as well. This was even better on the second day, so if drinking anytime soon, I recommend a healthy decant. Stunning stuff.
The downright sexy 2007 Gigondas La Louisiane (80% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre and 5% Syrah) is about as exuberant and perfumed as they come. It offers a smorgasbord of ripe blackberry, garrigue, smoked meats and exotic Provencal spices on the nose. This full-bodied, rich, unctuous and sweetly fruited beauty won't appeal to those looking for lightweight aromas and flavors, but it stays light and graceful on the palate, with still present, yet sweet tannin.
Ripe and well-layered, with fig, boysenberry and currant paste flavors interwoven with dark licorice and espresso. The rich, velvety finish lets the fig and boysenberry notes take an encore.
Domaine St. Damien’s cuvées of Gigondas have become the reference for classic full-bodied yet fine Gigondas, with scores by all journalists being both consistent and high every vintage. Almost as popular as their high-scoring Giogondas cuvees, are their Côtes-du-Rhône bottlings for their intense concentration and tremendous value. Harvests are later and yields are low.
Joel’s son, Romain is becoming more and more involved in the winemaking. Their goal is to produce Gigondas expressive of terroir, tradition, length and balance—in short, the best of Gigondas.
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.