Bright purple. More high-pitched than the straight Gigondas, showing vivid raspberry and floral scents and strong minerality. Juicy red berry flavors gain depth and power with air and take on a smoky, dried floral quality. The finish is spicy and impressively energetic, with lingering notes of smoke and minerals.
Robert Parker 95
Looking first at the 2007 Gigondas Cuvee Valbelle, it offers awesome black fruits, ground herbs, peppered meats and olive tapenade-like aromas and flavors to go with a stacked mid-palate, full-bodied richness, and smoking length on the finish. It’s an incredible Gigondas and can be consumed anytime over the coming 10-15 years. The leading producer in Gigondas, Saint Cosme has been run by the passionate and talented Louis Barruol since 1992, when he took over from his parents. Today, he produces four single-vineyard releases (the Hominis Fides and Valbelle come from essentially the same plot) and a classic Gigondas. All four of the single-vineyard releases (Valbelle, Le Claux, Hominis Fides and Le Poste) are almost all Grenache (the Valbelle incorporates 10% Syrah) and are aged in 30% new Burgundy barrels, with the balance consisting of 1-, 2- and 3-year-old barrels. The Valbelle was first made in 1993, the Hominis Fides in 2003, and both the Le Poste and Le Claux were first introduced in 2006. The Valbelle and Hominis Fides both come from sand and limestone-driven soils and a plot of vines located just down the street from the domaine, on the north side of the La Payouse Street, which leads into the Village of Gigondas. The Le Claux lies on the other side of the street and consists of vines planted before 1914 and more clay, gravel and limestone-driven soils, without the sand component that’s found in the Hominis Fides. Lastly, the Le Poste comes from a terraced vineyard (there are four terraces, one planted all to white varieties), just up the hill from the domaine that was replanted in 1963 by Louis father, Henri Barruol. The soils are mostly limestone and yellow marl, and this cuvee is always the most elegant and feminine in style. All three of these vineyards are within a 5 minute walk of each other. While these cuvees can be frightfully tannic on release, they round into form with a handful of years in the cellar, and age beautifully. Looking at his classic Gigondas, it’s all from estate fruit and is a rough blend of 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah and the balance Cinsault. Aging here is a combination of tank and older barrels. Looking specifically at this tasting, the idea was to taste through a broad sample set to get a better understanding of how these cuvees evolve. While any day you get to taste in Barruol’s cellar is a good one, I was thrilled to see how well his wines had held up over the years. In short, these are some of the finest Gigondas that money can buy. Starting off with two whites, Barruol makes one barrel from his Le Poste Vineyard, which has one of its four terraces planted to Clairette. He first produced the cuvee in 1992, and because no whites are allowed from Gigondas, it’s labeled as a Cotes du Rhone. Moving to the reds, and starting with the 2007s, this is easily one of the greatest lineups of Gigondas I’ve ever tasted. It also shows how special this vintage was throughout the entire Southern Rhone. Moving to the 2006s, these are big, rich and classically-styled efforts that scream Gigondas. Importer: Country Vintners, Ashland, VA; tel. (804) 752-3670
Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029