So for this “Wine of the Week” I’m using “alternative facts.” I guess I’m also taking some liberties with my title of this post, so I’ll move along and explain myself.
This week’s “Wine of the Week” is a wine from the Southern “Rhone” Valley in France, specifically, the region and Gigondas. While “technically” the Rhone River doesn’t quite run through Gigondas, that area resides closely to it. So I took some creative license to come up with the title.
What’s really important is the wine itself.
Domaine Palon Gigondas 2017
That’s not a misprint on the vintage. It has to be one of the earliest wines I’ve seen from that area. It’s what also drew me to the wine. After two great vintages, 2015 & 2016, from the Rhone Valley, I was curious if 2017 would stand up against the two previous years. Early indications are that 2017 should be another great year. An early harvest with production estimates being much lower than in previous years.
With a barrel sample review from Wine Advocate of 94 – 96 Points, it was worth a shot!
Being such a young wine, I knew that proper aerating would be required, or, even better, a couple of years in the wine cellar. Didn’t want to wait a couple of years, so I opted for aeration. Removing the cork I let the wine gurgle into my decanter to get a jump start on the whole process. This is one of those times when, even being retired and having nowhere to go and not much else to do, I find it difficult to be patient. Two hours minimum with an emphasis on more like 3 or 4 is what is called for.
Even given the time necessary to prepare dinner, in this case, Pork Tenderloin, Sweet Potato and Sugar Snap Peas, I was still left with waiting over an hour using the two-hour minimum, but much more under the optimum situation. How exasperating! (Did I gain any sympathy?)
In this case, the word compromise comes to mind. It was over two hours but a tad short of three that I allowed the wine to breathe. I knew that I would be drinking the wine through and after dinner, so I would get a little closer to the time I felt was needed.
Focusing on the wine (isn’t that what this is all about after all) I was struck by aromas lifting from my glass. Big and bright with that dark red fruit component. Hoping for the same on my palate, I sipped, allowing the wine to get that last burst of aeration. Good news bad news. As I was afraid, the wine did show its youth. It was still what is usually called “tight.” Not showing all of its potential. Still, I could sense the first nuances of that dark red fruit, the earthy backbone of tannins and a finish that pleases.
Dinner complete, and drinking the wine sparingly up to this point, allowed me to extend that aeration time even well past the four hours I had guessed the wine originally needed. Now things were getting interesting. The fruit became much more alive while still retaining those earthy characteristics found in Rhone wines. A slightly softer and rounder mouth feel also presented itself. Another fantastic wine from another great vintage.
Some technicals for the wine savvy, or maybe geeks like me. The wine is a blend of 79% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 6% Mourvèdre. A year residing in large oak casks for the Syrah and Mourvedre. Click here for the tech sheet. At around $20 a bottle, this looks to be an outstanding selection for either the cellar or for every day. Although, if you drink it anytime in the near future, don’t forget to decant for a good long time! Use something I don’t have…. patience! Maybe watch the movie “A River Runs Through It?”