Many years ago, for the opening of a steak house, a tasting lunch was organized, during which the menu featured medium-rare grilled steaks and Gigondas wine. I don’t remember the brand or the vintage.
The pairing was so successful those decades later I still remember it fondly.
The name Gigondas is of Roman origin – Jocunditas (meaning great pleasure). At the time Roman legionnaires occupied the area both red and white wines were produced. Today, only red and rose wines are made and marketed to comply with A.O.C regulations.
The region is dominated by geological formation rock mountains here called Dantelle de Montmirail. The formation occurred two million years ago.
The Dantelle de Montmirail renders the landscape dramatic and fascinating in its majesty. The yield per hectare is 36 hectolitres, and all grapes may be crushed and fermented together, or separately to be blended later on. Maceration lasts anywhere from two to four weeks pending on vintage, and preferences of the winemakers.
According to the A.O.C regulations grenache (minimum 80 per cent), syrah (15) or mourvedre and other Rhone Valley red grapes, except carignan may be used.
Gigondas is close to Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and its wines can be as powerful as those from the more famous region. Hence Gigondas reds can represent excellent value and can be cellared for up to 10 years, in some cases even longer. The 2012 vintage is drinking well now, and wineries have started shipping to export markets, including Canada.
Expect powerful, aromatic, and full of floral finesse with sinewy tannins if you buy and brand from wineries listed below. Amadieu is the largest vineyard owner (137 hectares) in Gigondas and produces a range of wines.
The following wineries are known for producing consistently good quality Gigondas Wines and at reasonable cost.
Domaine St. Damine
Chateau de St. Cosme
Domaine de Ranvier
Moulin de la Gardette
Domaine St Gayan
Domaine de Grapillon d’Or
Domaine Santa Duc
Domaine du Cayron
Mas de Rostanques