2017 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Les Claux

Year: 2017
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 95
Wine Advocate: 94
Vinous Media: 96
James Suckling: 97
Jeb Dunnuck: 98
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 16.0%
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"This lets red currant, boysenberry and blackberry preserve flavors spill forth, backed by singed alder, savory, tobacco and warm earth accents that impart added range and detail through the lengthy finish. Impressive. Best from 2020 through 2032. 250 cases made, 80 cases imported. -JM" (WS)

"The 2017 Gigondas le Claux features deep blue and black fruit on the nose. It's full-bodied in the mouth, with a generous, silky mouthfeel and an expansive, voluptuous finish that folds in hints of dark chocolate and salted licorice. All Grenache, from vines planted in the 19th century, it's a terrific Gigondas.

When I stopped in to visit in mid-June, proprietor Louis Barruol had a lot to smile about. Efforts to add white Gigondas to the appellation seem to be moving ahead, his Finger Lakes project (Forge Cellars) is ticking along and the last four vintages in the Southern Rhône have been good for quality, even if quantities aren't always what they could be. His activities in the Northern Rhône are going well too (more about those in the Northern Rhône report). "I'm really happy with '18," he said. "I've become not a great believer in crazy low crops—it's not that natural." In 2018, his average yields were a reasonable 32 hectoliters per hectare. "It's not going to be as good as '16, but it's very good."" (WA)

"Brilliant violet. Highly perfumed black raspberry and cherry liqueur aromas are accompanied by potpourri, mocha, vanilla and baking spice nuances, along with a smoky mineral flourish that builds in the glass. Juicy and appealingly sweet, displaying palate-staining red and blue fruit, spicecake and floral pastille flavors that show superb depth and a smooth, seamless texture. Deftly balances richness and vivacity and finishes extremely long and spicy, with smooth, harmonious tannins and a subtle echo of candied flowers and kirsch." (VM)

"This has a very rich and deeply ripe nose with a stony, savory edge with coal smoke and blueberries and dark plums on offer. The spice is deeply sewn in and the palate carries such depth and richness with a fleshy expression of pure grenache that was originally planted in 1870 and has been replanted over time. Phenomenal wine with such power and purity. Best from 2025 and for such a long time after that." (JS)

"Just about perfection in a glass, the 2017 Gigondas Le Claux got a few expletives in my notes. Made from 100% Grenache from a loamy, limestone parcel that’s a stone’s throw from the estate, just outside the village, it boasts a deep purple color as well as stunning notes of kirsch, cassis, camphor, dried earth, ground pepper, and background oak. Deep, powerful, full-bodied and multi-dimensional on the palate, this blockbuster Gigondas is going to benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age (or more) and cruise for two decades in cool cellars." (JD)

Winery Notes:
Very old mixed plantings of Grenache in the ‘Le Claux’ named vineyard. Whole clusters. Miocene limestone marl in the Font des Papes alluvial fan.

Aged for twelve months: 20% in new casks - 50% in casks used for one wine - 30% in casks used for two wines. What if Claux were Saint Cosme’s finest wine? Our latest tasting of mature wines at the estate certainly warrants the question. Admittedly, Le Claux is the oldest vineyard at Saint Cosme and one of the first post-phylloxera plantings in France, but why does this soil produce such high quality? We are touching upon the most fascinating aspect of our profession: accepting that we can observe things, but are at a loss to explain them. Having said that, the microclimate at Saint Cosme probably has a significant impact on this site: the cool airflow from the small Font des Papes valley constantly cools the area, yielding intensely aromatic fruit. The fact that Le Claux is our last vineyard to ripen tends to substantiate the influence of the cold. We almost always finish harvesting at Le Claux. The grapes therefore ripen slowly, as for many top wines... This reminds me of something my father said to me one day, when I was performing a task badly because I was in too much of a rush: “If you want to move fast, slow down”.

Peat, oriental spices, camphor, truffle

Bottled without filtration.