Rasteau: Domaine Saint Gayan 'Ilex' 2017
A strapping Rasteau wine with dark ruby colour, copious quantities of chocolate and black cherry flavours and warming tannins. This warming blend of Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre and Syrah out-punches and out-points many a Châteauneuf' and is just the kind of wine to cosset one through a chilly winter.
An excellent Rasteau called 'Ilex' (after Quercus Ilex the endemic species of oak tree) that achieved full A.O.C. status in the 2010 vintage. It hails from a broadly similar blend to the Domaine Saint Gayan Gigondas and, although not quite as concentrated and powerful, the Rasteau is still a bold, fruit-packed wine. It is ideally suited to earthy stews and casseroles and will age well for 5 to 10 years if properly cellared. The blend usually comprises around 63% Grenache Noir, 26% Mourvèdre and 11% Syrah, vintage dependent.
From vines with an average age of 35+ years, on 5 hectares of argilo-calcaire (clay-limestone) soils, these relatively low-yielding vines (30hl/ha) produce concentrated, darkly-fruited juice. Hand-harvested berries are fermented and aged in a mixture of stainless-steel and concrete tanks.
|Style||Red Wine, Sec, Full-bodied, Non Sparkling|
|Wine Region||Rhône, Rasteau|
|Grape Variety (Cépage)||Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah|
|Food & Wine Matching||Beef, Casserole|
|Cellarage||This Rasteau wine appreciates 2 to 3 years of bottle age from the vintage, but will continue to improve for a further 5 years.|
|Vinification||Old vines and a minimum of 20 days' vatting at a high-ish temperature ensures concentrated extraction. Each grape variety is fermented separately. The wines spend 2 years in cuves both concrete and stainless-steel.|
|Alcohol By Volume (%)||14.5|
Domaine Saint Gayan (Jean-Pierre Meffre)
The Meffres have been vignerons at Gigondas since the 17th Century and have played a key role in the success of the appellation. Roger Meffre (Jean-Pierre's father) was president of the Syndicat des Vignerons de Gigondas and was instrumental in winning Appellation Contrôllée status for Gigondas in 1971 and changing the law regarding the wine's Grenache content (raised from a maximum of 65% to 85% in 1985).
The 34 hectare Domaine Saint Gayan holds 12 hectares in their home village of Gigondas and is now run largely by Jean-Pierre and Martine's daughter Julie and her husband and winemaker Christian Yves Carré de Lusançay. It is one of the commune's finest estates and likely to release wines at their leisure, when ready to drink. Large oak barrels are mainly used for maturation though a number of clay amphorae have recently been installed. Whole-bunch fermentation is de rigeur.
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