2016 Domaine Saint-Damien Gigondas Classique Vieilles Vignes

Year: 2016
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 93
Vinous Media: 91-93
Jeb Dunnuck: 96
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 15.0%
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"More flattering and easier to drink than the La Louisiane at this stage, the 2016 Gigondas Classique Vieilles Vignes is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre, all aged in foudres. Hints of mocha and caramel add sweet richness to the ripe black cherry flavors and notes of mushroom, chocolate and licorice. Full-bodied, creamy textured and richly concentrated, it's long and velvety on the finish. Tasted twice, with consistent notes.

It's always interesting to note the dynamics at small family-run estates. This was the first time the young Romain Saurel handled my visit on his own, as his parents had always been present on previous occasions. It's clear that they're still on hand in case he needs guidance, but he is increasingly taking charge of the estate, which remains an important benchmark within the Gigondas appellation. All of the wines I tasted at the domaine were outstanding, and it is something to say that there is not a dog in the lineup. Most of the wines are made only in large, old foudres, which helps preserve the exceptional fruit quality coming from this estate. It's also worth pointing out that the 2017s look to be just as good. "I think it's a great vintage of vins de garde," said Romain." (WA)

"Bright ruby. Aromas of ripe red and blue fruits, lavender and succulent herbs are energized by a zesty mineral flourish. Plush black raspberry and boysenberry flavors open up and turn spicier with air. Possesses an appealing blend of richness and energy and finishes very long, with subtle tannic grip and repeating red fruit character." (VM)

"Similarly colored, the 2016 Gigondas Vieilles Vignes (80% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre) offers a killer bouquet of blackcurrants, sappy garrigue, exotic spices, and leafy herbs. It's full-bodied, ultra-pure, seamless and silky, with no hard edges and beautiful balance. Checking in as a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre brought up in older foudre, don't miss this beauty!" (JD)

Winery Notes:
From the Giognas appellation lieux-dits "Les Gravas", "Pigieres", "Les Souteyrades", "La Moutte" and "La Louisiane" of about 80% Grenache planted in 1964 and 20% Mourvèdre planted in 1977. Assembled before fermentation, maceration for 5 weeks in concrete tanks. Aged in foudre for 12 months. Bottled without fining or filtration.