Giogondas la Cave, “L’Hallali”, Rhône Blend; Giogondas, France; 2015.

Hey all. Long time no see.

Not much to say–just that there’s no time like the present!

‘Behold the field in which I grow my grapes … lay thine eyes upon it, and see that it is ‘fested with foxes.’

Man, Gigondas! Whenever I think I have a decent grasp on some region–in this case, the Rhône Valley–some small Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée will pop up and surprise me!

Just as a minor tangent, the name of this wine, L’Hallali, is the traditional call made on a simple brass instrument (searching for more specific details is unfortunately pushing the limits of my French vocabulary) before and after a hunt–thus the horn and dogs on the label!

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Gigondas, as I mentioned, is a small AOC in the Rhône Valley. It’s often considered a smaller brother of the terribly prestigious Châteauneuf-du-Pape, with a similar climate and selection of grapes. However, it is distinguished from Chât-du-Pape and the rest of the southern Rhône by the Dentelles de Montmirail–literally, ‘The Lace of Montmirail’. These mountains serve to split Gigondas into two distinct regions–one noticeably warmer than the other. In the warmer climate especially, this tends to lend the primary grape, grenache, a notable heft and muscularity. This also correlates with a relatively high ABV–in which our Hallali is no exception, sitting pretty at 14.5%!

Height of the vineyards also makes a difference on the wines produced in Gigondas. And while it’s not Mendoza and their Andes, grapes are grown as high as 600m, introducing a literally rarefied air to some Gigondas wines.

This wine is a fairly standard mix of Rhône grapes–though substituting the traditional carignan for the pair of mourvèdre and cinsault. This lands it at a quad-blend of grenache (they specify noir, though it’s more often that I see the blanc explicitly specified), syrah, and the aforementioned mourvèdre and cinsault.

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Some pertinent info:

Full Name: Gigondas la Cave, L’Hallali, Gigondas, 2015. Appellation Gigondas Protégée.
Grape(s): Grenache noir (75%), syrah (25%), mourvèdre (5%), cinsault (5%) [sic].
ABV: 14.5%.
Price (to the nearest $5): $20.

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Tasting Notes

Nose/Color
– Lush cherry color. Lighter than expected.
– Bright red fruit on the nose. A touch of herbaceousness.

Approach
– Tart, bright fruit. Savory herbs?

Mid-palette
– Tart, but smooth fruit. Soft mouth-feel.

Finish
–Darker, fermented fruit. Returning to that herbaceousness. Lingering acidity and fruit.

Finishing the bottle several days later
– Same general profile, though the pepper notes are more pronounced, especially on the finish. The fruit has calmed down a bit.

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Overall, this is a really lovely bottle. I’d love to see what it looks like with a few years on it; as it stands, a highly-drinkable, powerful wine. While 14.5% is a bit high for causal drinking, it nevertheless remains relatively subdued; no boozy notes here. Nice color, nice region, nice wine. Can’t complain!

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Wikipedia contributors. “Gigondas AOC.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 10 Dec. 2017. Web. 8 May. 2018.