By: Cecily Gamba
It’s our favorite day of the week, Wine Wednesday! Grab a glass and enjoy our continued journey to learn about all things Rhône. This week’s topic: Gigondas AOC.
Gigondas is Grenache territory, and the little brother to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This Southern Rhône region produces solely red and rosé wines, made up of 80% Grenache. The other 15% of varietals grown are Syrah and Mourvedre.
The name Gigondas comes the Latin word Jocunditas, meaning “great pleasure and enjoyment.” The town was founded as a site for Roman soldiers to relax and enjoy, amidst the Roman Second Legion. It is believed that wines were produced at this time, as a Bacchus-head from that era was found in the region. Up until the 1800s, the wines produced in Gigondas were mainly used by the church. After this, much of the wine was used in Burgundy, to reinforce and give body to their thinner wines. By the 1950’s, the wines of Gigondas had reemerged, and by 1971, the region had achieved AOC status.
Gigodas is located 10 miles southwest of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and enjoys the typical Mediterranean climate of the southern Rhône. The appellation is divided into two distinct areas by the Dentelles de Montmirail, a small mountain range. Because of these mountains, grapes can be harvested as high as 600 meters up.
99% of Gigondas are red wines, and these wines are typically ripe, bold, and relatively high in alcohol. Many of the best bottlings of Gigondas stand up to its famous neighbor, and these bottlings will benefit from a couple years of ageing, with some able to be kept for 10 or more years. Younger wines will have aromas of red fruits and ripe black fruits, and flavors of forest floor and truffles will develop with age.
Next time you’re looking for a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, perhaps reach for a bottle of Gigondas! Let us know if you do. 😊