2019 Domaine Guillaume Gilles, Cotes du Rhone “Les Peyrouses” Northern Rhone, France.
The sexy, aromatic and Cote-Rotie like 2019 Les Peyrouses Syrah, now labeled as Cotes du Rhone, by the rising star and wildly talented Guillaume Gilles is actually a full on Cornas from mature vines and is exceptionally beautiful stuff, not far off the domaine’s notable and coveted top bottling with a heady perfume of crushed violets and expressive boysenberries on the nose which echo onto the opulent full bodied, but structured palate, adding damson plum, Italian cherry, briar laced raspberry compote and tart blueberry fruits as well as stemmy savory elements, peppercorns, black olive, anise, tobacco, cedar and faint smoky mineral notes. The finish is very impressive, persistent and dry with a taut grip, best to decant and have with sa serious meal, there is tons of purity to enjoy here, along with a nice cut of acidity, and the Les Peyrouses should continue to develop for another 5 to 10 years in bottle, this wine, in the old school, Jamet, Clape and Allemond style is worth every penny and the almost impossible task of finding it! Gilles, now almost 40, notably studied under the famed Jean-Louis Chave, of Hermitage and in his rustic old cellars he ferments his Syrah with 100% whole clusters and full stem inclusion with all native yeast in concrete vats with hand pilage and lengthy, 20 day, macerations before the wine is small vertical basket pressed to old 600L demi-mouds for aging, which is usually a minimum of 18 months. Guillaume works with ultra low SO2 and the is almost never racking during the elevage, only just prior off the gross lees, and his wines are all unfined and unfiltered as to show every terroir nuance and give transparency to each bottle.
The Guillaume Gilles Cotes du Rhone Les Peyrouses is from an old vines parcel on the flats in Cornas, instead of the high slopes where the main estate wines come from, though in some vintages, this bottling, 100% Syrah is every bit as alluring as the more prestigious Cornas and is a tremendous value, as this 2019 shows. The soil at this site is sandy and mainly clay, though it has large “galet” stones, which hold heat, scattered within and add to the wine’s depth, concentration and supple tannin. The vinification for the Les Peyrouses is almost exactly the same as is used for the elite full Cornas wines as made in this cellar and you can tell this is more than the label advertises. Guillaume came on the stage after being mentored by the legendary Robert Michel and who’s cellar he took over, along with some awesome vines here, with Gilles now boasting highly coveted vines that are situation on the higher slopes of the Chaillot vineyard, with the best exposures and more complex soils. Not done with that, Gilles now has his Les Rieux, a vineyard situated up above the main amphitheater of Cornas, up at 450 meters, this high altitude and cooler parcel is maybe the future of this winery with an intriguing potential, especially with climate change. Guillaume got the virgin Les Rieux in 2010 and immediately planted vines on its unique white granite soils, which had never before had grape vines. So things are very exciting here at Guillaume Gilles and the wines keep getting better and better, while still capturing the historic sense of place! Guillaume has also acquired a tiny plot of 40-year-old Gamay vines which are planted on pure granite at nose bleed heights in the Ardeche, it produces a micro amount of wine and might be one of the most rare and sought after Gamay wines in France, and I’m still begging to find a bottle! As you can tell, from this review and my past reviews here, Guillaume Gilles, who debuted in 2007, is a favorite and I love these wines.
($59 ESt.) 94 Points, grapelive