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Gigondas is a village and wine appellation in the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains in France. This is an all red wine-producing region, with roots in ancient Roman culture (at a time when white wine was also made here). The name derives from the Latin Jocunditas, which means “great pleasure,” as it had been a sort of vacation haven for Roman soldiers. Wine production enjoyed a quiet growth through the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance. A Gigondas won a prestigious gold medal at an agricultural fair in Paris in 1894. However, for much of the 1800s and early 1900s, the juice was often sent to other parts of France to bulk out weaker wines. Quality has improved greatly since then. It became an official Cotes du Rhone Villages AOC in the 1950s, and struck out to become its own AOC in 1971.
The vineyards are situated high into the Montmirail slopes, with limestone soils in some parts and sandier, more free-draining soils in others. It’s noticeably cooler than nearby Chateauneuf-du-Pape, especially since it’s right in the path of the Mistral winds as they blow down the Rhone Valley.
Gigondas is made from up to 80% Grenache, and minimum 15% each of Syrah and Mourvedre. A maximum 10% is allowable for other Rhone grapes, such as Rousanne, Marsanne, Clairette, and Cinsault. The only grape not permissible is Carignan. Grapes are chosen in the triage method, meaning handpicked to select the healthiest fruit.
This blend of varietals is very similar to that of nearby Chateauneuf du Pape. and it is often referred to as a poor man’s Chateauneuf. Although one should think of Gigondas in its own right. The wines tend to be more forward and powerful when consumed young, at three to five years after the vintage date. Some can also take cellar aging, if one has the patience. ~Amanda Schuster– Description from Amanda Schuster
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