Montirius Gigondas 2000
Eric and Christine Saurel began bottling wine under the Montirius label with the 1996 vintage (the name is a contraction of their childrens’ names: Manon, Justine, and Marius). Eric is the fifth generation to assume the mantle of vigneron in the Saurel family. His grandfather was instrumental in the development of the Vacqueyras co-op after WWI and the Saurels remained important members until 2002, when Eric and Christine pulled out.
The Montirius vineyards have been organic since 1990 and certified biodynamic since 1999. The Saurels make the following wines with a decided emphasis on purity--they are made entirely in large cement vats without any wood influences.
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.