Les Pallières and and Gour de Chaulé embody Southern Rhône's best overachieving appellation, Gigondas. Commonly known as Baby Châteauneuf, Gigondas has the elevation and steep slope grade to induce a seriousness to these Grenache-dominant blends that are in another league of terroir from neighboring zones.

Terraces cut into the Dentelles de Montmirail hillsides give us Gigondas from the 15th century-founded Domaine Les Pallières. Of the two cuvées produced by the Brunier brothers (also owners of Vieux Télégraphe in Châteauneuf du Pape), it is the Terrasse du Diable (Devil's Terraces) that has always struck a chord for me. These are the highest elevation plantings on the estate, bringing the essential brisk structure to balance Grenache's forward-baked strawberry and white pepper profile.

Gour de Chaulé, like Pallières, focuses on high percentages of Grenache in their blend, not relying on the dark and muscular tones of Syrah and Mourvèdre to impress. (Both domaines use over 85% for these two cuvées). While Pallières partially de-stems, Gour de Chaulé always sees 100% whole cluster fermentation. Here, an extra element of tension and a more reserved fruit profile gives one of the most disciplined frames of a Southern Rhône red.

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