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Daniel Rogov

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Chateau Gigognan: Chateanueuf and Cotes du Rhone

by Daniel Rogov » Thu Jun 04, 2009 3:34 pm

Yesterday (Wednesday, 3 June) I attended a tasting of the Cotes du Rhone and Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines of Chateau Gigognan, that hosted by the importer Giaconda and in the presence of M. Frederic Bayle, the winery's export manager. The tasting was held at Catit restaurant in Tel Aviv, the goal being to match the wines with various dishes. As much as I enjoyed the food matches, as each wine or flight was poured, I stepped outside of the tasting area for a few moments, all present sure that I was escaping for a cigarette but the truth was this "side-stepping" was done in order to first taste each wine without the aromas of the excellent food that was set out by chef Maier Adoni.

Four of the wines that were tasted (the first four reviewed below, with local prices given) are now available in Israel and may be ordered directly from the importer. Prices quoted are those offered to "members" of Giaconda's internet site. Membership is free and carries no strings whatever. Best way to join is to visit their site at http://www.giaconda.co.il .

As to the winery, located in the heart of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape area, wines are grown and produced organically and, as this and earlier tastings of Gigognan have demonstrated, the winery makes no effort to produce "blockbusters", focusing instead on an older-world style that, at least to me calls to mind the tried and true idiom "muscular but with a gentle and elegant touch".

Chateau Gigognan, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Blanc, Clos de Roi, 2006: A white Chateauneuf, a blend of Roussanne, Grenache and Clairette (46%, 45% and 9% respectively), fermented and aged for one year in second-use barriques. A ripe and lush wine, showing mango, peach, almond and floral notes, those supported by hints of lemon meringue pie and mineral notes, all leading to a long and generous finish. Drink now-2014. NIS 325. Score 92. (Tasted 3 Jun 2009)

Chateau Gigognan, Cotes du Rhone Villages, Bois des Moines, 2005: If a wine can be described as "juicy", this is one of those wines. Ruby towards garnet, medium- to full-bodied, with soft, gently caressing tannins in fine balance with fruits and acidity, a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre (60%, 30% and 10% respectively). A violet and raspberry rich nose, going on to show flavours of plums, graphite and black licorice and, on the generous finish a nice note of minerality rising. Drink now-2010, perhaps longer. NIS 92. Score 90. (Re-tasted 3 Jun 2009)

Chateau Gigognan, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Vigne de Regent, 2005: Dark garnet, medium- to full-bodied (leaning to the full), a muscular but remarkably gentle wine absolutely packed with an array of aromas and flavours. On opening attack blackberries and dark chocolate, those followed by dried figs and espresso coffee, all on a tantalizingly bitter-sweet background. A blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, drinking beautifully now but don't hesitate to cellar until 2015. NIS 189. Score 92. (Tasted 3 Jun 2009)

Chateau Gigognan, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Clos de Roi, 2005: A blend of 71% Grenache and 29% Syrah, the wine aged in a combination of large wood vats, barriques and cement tanks for 24 months. Opens quietly, almost restrained, but give this one a few moments in the glass and it blossoms beautifully, showing layers of blackberry, raspberry and black currant fruits, those supported by notes of black tea, dried figs and licorice. With tannins that might be described as muscular but oh so gentle rising on the long finish with a hint of tar. Drink now-2013. NIS 274. Score 92. (Tasted 3 Jun 2009)

From here we continued with a mini-vertical of the Cuvee Cardinalice wines of the Chateau, those made from 100% Grenache but alas not available locally.

Chateau Gigognan, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cardinalice, 2007 (Barrel Tasting): Dark cherry towards garnet in color, still in its infancy but already reflecting an exciting vintage year. Made entirely from Grenache grapes, developed in oak vats for 24 months, opening with a rich core of raspberries and figs, going on to show blackberries, purple plums, licorice and Turkish coffee, all coming together on a mineral-rich background. Needs time for its elements to come together but this one is destined for true elegance. Best 2012-2022. Tentative Score 92-94. (Tasted 3 Jun 2009)

Chateau Gigognan, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cardinalice, 2006 (Advance Tasting): Dense and concentrated for the vintage but with traditional Gigognan elegance. On the nose and palate blackberries, figs, hoisin sauce and licorice and, on the long finish a distinct fruitcake note. As this one continues to develop look as well for notes of barely sweetened Turkish coffee. Best 2010-2020. Score 92. (Tasted 3 Jun 2009)

Chateau Gigognan, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cardinalice, 2005: Deep ruby towards garnet in color, full-bodied but silky and finely tuned, reflecting a fine vintage year. On first attack figs and plums, those yielding to notes of raspberries, cocoa and minerals, all with the tannins rising together with spicy and black tea elements on the long, long finish. Drinking very nicely now but best 2011-2022. Score 93. (Tasted 3 Jun 2009)

Chateau Gigognan, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cardinalice, 2004: Dark cherry, possibly ruby in color, with deep purple reflections, a rich and fleshy wine, opening slowly in the glass to reveal generous currant and plum fruits, those overlaid with notes of black truffles and loamy notes. A delicious and complex wine simultaneously modern and old-world. Drink now-2016. Score 91. (Tasted 3 Jun 2009)

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