Grapelive: Wine of the Day March 7, 2018

2015 Domaine Saint Damien, Gigondas, Vieilles Vignes, Rhone Red, France.
This is an old school comfort wine, it’s deep layers of Grenache based goodness caresses the palate along with an array of earth, spice and chalky stones, making it a joyous Rhone red from a historic area, it’s nearly perfect in it’s terroir and charms. Of course it has a touch of animal/funk, or barnyard as we say, which is this Domaine Saint Damien’s richly flavored Gigondas old vine’s only and main flaw, otherwise it’s gorgeously textured, full of life and extremely pretty on the palate. This is classic old world meets a great vintage, this wine has an eternal feel, ancient even, but new and vibrant, it’s a wine with an old soul showing a little bret on the nose, as well as floral tones and savory elements to go with an explosion of boysenberry, wild plum, dusty black cherry and currant/cassis fruit, it picks up black pepper, tangy lavender, backyard strawberry, crushed rock, leather, dried blood/iron, anise and framboise. This really gets interesting with air as it opens, though it never quite loses it’s slightly dirty nature, it’s a blend that is mostly Grenache, 80%, but with surprising 20% Mourvedre, which adds a meatiness and a good dose of structural tannins, it was aged exclusively in old foudres, as traditional as can be. While not as finessed as Saint Cosme or as beautiful as Domaine d’Ourea, that said, this is a top notch dense (full bodied) Gigondas that reminds me of wines from my youth and brilliant with robust country influenced cuisine, it should prove long lived too, even though I would drink it over the next 3 to 5 years with it’s expressive and impressive youthful sweet fruit.
($28 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive