Châteauneuf-du-Pape is one of the most recognizable brands in wine. Made famous by French popes in the 14th century, and then again by Robert Parker in the 1980s, the appellation’s place on the winemaking map is well established. And well deserved — the wines can be extraordinary, though they often come at a “special occasion” price point for most wine enthusiasts.
Enter Gigondas. Wine from this appellation, about 20 minutes across the valley, shares many of the same rich, dark qualities that draw people to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Gigondas isn’t quite as deep or as long lived as its more famous neighbor, but its price encourages more frequent enjoyment. It’s a great choice for the autumn months ahead.
The Clos du Joncuas has been among our happiest recent discoveries in the Southern Rhône. Sisters Dany and Carol Chastan have run their family domaine for decades according to organic and biodynamic principles. The wines are all beautifully made, with minimal manipulation and no pretense. They practice old school winemaking — 100% whole clusters, ambient yeasts, no fining or filtering, no oaking.
Their 2018 Gigondas is, in a word, impressive. The nose mixes floral notes of violets with strawberry jam. In the mouth there is plenty of body, but the fine-grained tannins stay in the background while the wine coats the palate. There is very good length and an excellent finish.
Put a stew in the oven, turn on the football game, and pour yourself a glass of this — autumn has arrived.
Joncuas Gigondas 2018
bottle price: $35