2020 Pierre-Henri Morel, Gigandas, Southern Rhone Valley, France.
I am a huge Gigondas fan and it was exciting to try this one, which I had not tried before and it did not disappoint with a serious meaty concentrated full bodied palate that comes across very Syrah led in character at first with blackberry, boysenberry, damson plum and cassis along with raw beef, anise, burnt embers and violets taking center stage before a nice mix of peppery spices, lavender and sweet pomegranate comes through with air. There’s a lot to unpack here and I should mention there’s some grip that is still firm, making this a wine that is best decanted and or allowed its own time to fully reveal itself, the structure and backbone leads me to believe that cellaring with bring even greater rewards in the coming years, even though I really enjoyed it now and how it evolved in the glass over the 15 to 20 minutes I was able to savor it. This certainly is impressive stuff and will be best enjoyed with a slow and robust meal, especially with lamb, steak and or wild mushroom dishes. The wines at Pierre-Henri Morel see mostly traditional methods in the cellar with fermentation and aging done primarily in concrete vats to allow for purity and transparency to shine through with the Gigondas and Chateauneuf bottlings getting between 12 to 15 months of elevage.
The Pierre-Henri Morel winery and label was created in 2008, and is a unique partnership between Pierre-Henri Morel and the legendary Michel Chapoutier, which saw the pair team up on some vineyard sites in the Southern Rhone with Pierre-Henri, who’s Chapoutier’s commercial director, overseeing the style and branding here, while the production and care being provided by Chapoutier and his team. The Pierre-Henri Morel Gigondas, is a very stylish effort and is made from plots, the winery says, that are located on high-altitude terraces with more alluvial soils, rather than the sandy soils in Chateauneuf that favor Grenache, that endow the wines, as the winery continues, with lovely freshness, balance and minerality. All of which is on display here here in the 2020 vintage, it is a classic Rhone blend of 60% Grenache Noir, 30% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre from old vines and crafted to a powerful wine, but one that also speaks of place and is nicely balanced. Pierre-Henri Morel, who also works with Two Hands and Barr-Eden wineries in Australia, has a fine selection of vineyards from Chateauneuf, including a piece of the famous Pignan, to the Luberon, including this quality parcel of Gigondas and a plot in Vacqueyras, from which to chose from and his collection of Southern Rhone wines are well worth searching out. I am now very much interested in trying the full lineup here and I will be getting a few more bottles of this Gigondas in the near future!
($35 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive