Certified Organic (2012)
Variety: 80% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre
Country Region: France, Southern Rhône Valley
80% Grenache (planted 1964), 20% Mourvèdre (planted 1977). 100% de-stemmed and fermented in large concrete tanks for 5 weeks or more. Matured in large old 50 hl oak foudres for 12 months before bottling un-fined and unfiltered.
'The 2017 Gigondas Classique Vieilles Vignes needs more time in foudre to shed/round its considerable tannins. Subtle notes of dried spices and lavender-heavy garrigue accent black cherries in this full-bodied effort that ends with a hint of licorice. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. (91-93)” It's always interesting to note the dynamics at small family-run estates. This was the first time the young Romain Saurel handled my visit on his own, as his parents had always been present on previous occasions. It's clear that they're still on hand in case he needs guidance, but he is increasingly taking charge of the estate, which remains an important benchmark within the Gigondas appellation. All of the wines I tasted at the domaine were outstanding, and it is something to say that there is not a dog in the lineup. Most of the wines are made only in large, old foudres, which helps preserve the exceptional fruit quality coming from this estate. It's also worth pointing out that the 2017’s look to be just as good. "I think it's a great vintage of vins de garde," said Romain.' (91-93) points, Joe Czerwinski, The Wine Advocate, Sept 2018.
Domaine Saint Damien
Domaine Saint-Damien is run by Joel and Amie Saurel and their son Romain who has now taken charge of the winemaking. The Saurel family had been tending vineyards for four generations, dating back to 1821, and until recently had been selling all of the grapes to negociants. In 1996 Joel resumed producing wine at the estate and in 1998 they brought on consulting winemaker Philippe Cambie. Vinification is classic with wines being made in large old cement tanks and aged in either the tanks or large old foudres for the Gigondas.
Today the estate is comprised of 17 hectares of vineyards of which 12 are in Gigondas. All their vineyards are certified organic since 2012. The vines are an average age of 50 years and are very low yielding. The wines of Gigondas are bottled according to individual terroir (particularly soil type) known as the Saint Damien Trilogy.