Wednesday, May 27, 2009

News from the Rhone

Our friend Tammy Jones is in the Rhone Valley currently and has stumbled upon the Barruol family estate in Gigondas. Louis and Cherry Barruol are negociants in the Rhone, producing among others a wonderful 2007 Cotes-du-Rhone rouge from declassified Gigondas fruit. I've written about that wine before (click here).

Tammy's blog is worth a read. There are beautiful pictures of the region as well. The following is excerpted from Tammy's post on the Barruols.

North of Avignon by way of Carpentras, sheltered by the hauntingly beautiful Dentelles range is the famous wine producing town of Gigondas. I had heard of this part of the Cote du Rhone but it really picked up on my radar when Paul of Top Ten Wines turned me on to a glorious red wine from Saint Cosme. Imagine my surprise when we are driving down the road and voila - there in front of us was the place - the actual Chateau de Saint Cosme. Named for the patron saint of Gigondas, this working winery and vineyard dispenses quickly with any pretense. A friendly dog greets all who enter the small drive and provided a welcome diversion for Cameron and Caroline who have little interest in wine. The 14th generation winemaker, Louis Barroul and his family live on site. One would think it has nothing to do with viticulture or enology, but there was something reassuring and expected with seeing a bicycle and the of small children about. This was a terrior well connected to the human as the family to the land. The wines of Saint Cosme demonstrate this respectful symbiosis. One wine that stood out among all I tasted the was the 2007 Gigondas. I bought two bottles - with a silent prayer to the Customs God. One to watch is their table wine, Little James Basket Press Vin de Table. With Chateau direct prices at just over a mere 4 euros, word from the Chateau is US wine merchants are very interested in both the Little James and the Saint Joseph. The Little James is a whole lot of wow for the price - fat and round with berry and spice and those wonderful earthy notes I so love about good Cote du Rhone wine. The 2006 St. Joseph is selling for an average of around $45 in the US. It can be purchased from the estate for 14.20 euro.
There are 15 hectares (about 37 acres) of old vines around the estate with an average vine age of 60 years. Yields are kept very low at around 27 hectoliters per hectare (about 2 tons per acre). The soil is limestone and red clay but somewhat geologically complex. Grenache is king here, but often blended with Syrah, Cinsault, Carignane, Counoise or Mourvèdre.


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