JD97 From a cooler terroir of sandy soils just beside the domaine, the 2016 Gigondas Le Lieu Dit is another tour de force from this brilliant estate. It sports a medium ruby color as well as a rocking bouquet of kirsch, blackberry liqueur, rose petals, damp earth, incense, and spice. Ultra-fine, seamless, elegant, and pure, it’s nevertheless powerful and rich, with awesome intensity. Readers need to snatch up this blockbuster.
WS95 Deliciously ripe, featuring a bright and lively display of red currant, raspberry and blackberry coulis flavors that race along, underscored by fine but persistent chalky tannins and backed by lilac, violet, rooibos tea and savory notes along the way. The long finish ripples with fresh acidity. Best from 2020 through 2036. 417 cases made.
WA94 Big, rich and full-bodied, the 2016 Gigondas le Lieu Dit is old-vine Grenache from a sandy part of the property, aged in demi-muids. It’s got huge black cherry, berry and plum fruit, yet remains fresh and vibrant, showing a bit of warmth without going over the top. It should drink well for a decade. Tasted twice, with consistent notes.
The Brechet family is a force in the Southern Rhône, with large properties in Châteauneuf du Pape (Château de Vaudieu) and in Gigondas at Domaine des Bosquets. Proprietor Julien Brechet is the grandson of Gabriel Meffre, founder of the firm that bears his name, and is the fifth generation in the region. At Bosquets, he’s pursuing a parcel-by-parcel approach, vinifying pieces of the vineyard separately and then choosing to blend them (or not). From the 2016 vintage, there are four vineyard selections and a blended wine. Brechet pushes ripeness to the limit, and I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the importance of serving temperature with these wines. Start them on the cool side, and let them gradually warm so that you don’t miss the sweet spot, when they’re at their most expressive without showing their alcohols (normally around 15%). I found many of these same wines too alcoholic last year, and I’m convinced that serving temperature played a huge role in that. With closer attention this year, the wines showed much better, both tasted blind at the Syndicat in Gigondas and at the estate. Finally, Brechet owns a hectare in Châteauneuf du Pape, and that wine is reviewed here as well.
The acknowledged leader in Gigondas is Château de St.-Cosme, but if there were another estate that could give it a run for its money, it would be Domaines des Bosquets. Since taking over in 2007, Julien Bréchet has been experimenting with, tweaking and refining this estate’s wines. He produced his first classic-quality (95 points or better on Wine Spectator’s 100-point scale) wines in the 2015 vintage, and has followed that up with an equally, if not better, set of wines in 2016.
The 2016 Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas is the backbone of the portfolio for this 79-acre estate (64 acres in Gigondas). Due to the coulure that hampered Grenache yields in the vintage, the blend is just 45 percent Grenache, along with 35 Syrah and the rest Mourvèdre and Cinsault. It has gorgeous mouthfilling blackberry and fig compote flavors, laced with roasted apple wood and warm anise notes and backed by a riveting graphite spine on the finish.
The 2016 Gigondas Le Lieu Dit is a pure Grenache bottling from vines situated on sandy soils. Consequently, it shows a very silky and stylish texture, while ripe and thoroughly embedded acidity that lets a long beam of anise-infused boysenberry and plum fruit glide along seductively. It’s this wine that captures the house style the most for me, with its combination of silky but persistent grip and very alluring fruit. And while the fruit puts on a beautiful show, these are not top-heavy or overly hedonistic wines.