• 2016 Gigondas 2-Ways:  Les Pallières & Gour de Chaulé

    2016 Gigondas 2-Ways: Les Pallières & Gour de Chaulé

    The pitch-perfect 2016 southern Rhône vintage does not require much more explanation, and today's duo embodies the regions's best over-achieving appellation, Gigondas. Commonly known as "Baby Châteauneuf", Gigondas has the elevation and steep slope grade to endow a seriousness to these Grenache-dominant blends that's in another league of terroir from neighboring zones. Bottles from both today's domaines provide evolution for well over a decade in most years. However, with the 2016's we're going to need a bigger boat.

    Today, I'm happy to offer the 2016 Les Pallières Terrasse du Diable & Gour de Chaulé Cuvée Tradition for $37 and $36 per bottle, respectively. With very special pricing on mixed packs.


    2016 calls to mind a replay of 2010 for the southern Rhône, high ripeness and superior finesse, cut, and definition. A perfect storm of a vintage for classic-leaning palates, one that we're rewarded with a couple times each decade.

    Terraces cut into the 
    Dentelles de Montmirail hillsides give us the Gigondas from 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 with 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 extremely high percentages of Grenache in their blend, not relying on the dark and muscular tones of Syrah and Mourvèdre to impress. (Both domaine's are over 85% for these two cuvées). While Pallières partially de-stems, GdC always sees 100% whole cluster fermentation. Here, there's an extra element of tension and more reserved fruit profile that always reminds me this gives one of the most disciplined frames of any southern Rhône red. Josh Reynolds of Vinous captures why this more reticent personality can give great reward:

    "In great vintages like 2016, this 15-hectare (10 of them in Gigondas and mostly composed of very old, low-yielding vines) domaine's wines have proven that they can age remarkably well and better than most others from the region. Twenty years is usually the outer limit for cellaring Gigondas, to my taste, but plenty of two-decade-old (and even older) bottles of Gour de Chaulé over the last three decades have proven themselves worthy...and the wines here, which have long been among the standouts of the appellation (especially for those whose tastes run to the traditional and unadorned), have never been better.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen