2017 Domaine du Gour de Chaulé, Gigondas AOC, Cuvée Tradition, Rhone Valley, France.
The ripe and dense 2017 cuvee Tradition Gigondas by Gour de Chaulé flows smoothly across the full bodied palate with deep layers of black raspberry, plum, pomegranate and creme de cassis fruit along with sweet dark flowers, snappy herbs, a light sense of spice and a subtle earthiness, adding dried lavender, warm stones, a touch of cedar and pepper. This is an impressive and serious Grenache based wine that way over delivers for the price, this is a wine that could easily pass for a top notch Chateauneuf, and it should get better for the next 3 to 5 years in bottle and last 15 more years, pretty solid for such a warm vintage and while there is plenty of stuffing here, I’d say with the way it drinks, you would be well served to enjoy it sooner v. later. This years version, of the Cuvée Tradition, was crafted from 80% Grenache Noir, 10% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre, all done with native yeasts and using full whole clusters and then aged for close to 18 months in large neutral French oak foudres. These Gigondas wines by Domaine du Gour de Chaulé are old school, natural and rustic versions in most years and there usually is a rawness that is highly compelling with leather notes and some rough tannin and power, but the 2015, 2016 and really ripe 2017 editions are big and opulent wines that show a more seamless and smooth personality, easy to love in their youth, especially this one.

The modern times at Domaine du Gour de Chaulé has been all about women that have heroically brought fame to this property in the shadow of the Dentelles de Montmirail where they have farmed small yielding vines in Gigondas with their estate being mainly planted to Grenache, with a few small parcels of Syrah and Mourvedre for blending in their main wines, plus a small plot of Cinsault for use in their unique Gigondas Rosé, a wine that is almost never seen on the shelves, as it sells out fast. The original estate dates back to 1871, but the Domaine du Gour de Chaulé, as it is known now was founded in 1900 by Eugene Bonfils, current matriarch Stéphanie Fumoso’s great grandfather, with her daughter, Aline, being the one that significantly developed and modernized the estate back in 1985 and converted the estate to all sustainable farming, bringing the quality levels up and gaining world wide attention for the wines. This terroir, which has been a prized area since Roman times, at Gigondas’ higher elevation gets a bit more cooling influence and the rocky clay and marl soils bring out the best in Grenache, with incredible depth and complexity, and Syrah is more common here than down in the sandy lower regions of the Southern Rhone Valley. This is label to search out, imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchant, and I highly recommend grabbing any vintage you see!
($30 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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