2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Gallimardes

Domaine Giraud

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Average Score 96.0

The 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Les Gallimardes is another full-bodied, hedonistic and decadent effort from this brother/sister pair. Incense, lavender, licorice and sweet kirsch and blackberry-styled fruits give way to a full-bodied, deeply concentrated, layered, and yet still graceful profile on the palate. While it’s superb now, its stacked mid-palate and sweet tannin on the finish all say it will continue to evolve gracefully. ||One of my favorite estates in the Southern Rhone, Domaine Giraud is run by the brother/sister pair Marie and Francois Giraud, with Marie making the wines and Francois managing the vineyards. Created in 1974 by Pierre and Mireille Giraud, it wasn’t until 1998 that they bottled their first release (both a traditional Chateauneuf and a Cuvee Les Gallimardes). While some estates have a difficult transition from generation to generation, in this case, Pierre let Marie make the wines in 2001, and after tasting the results, quickly gave her full rein. In addition, Philippe Cambie lends his consulting advice here. The style certainly leans toward the hedonistic end of the spectrum, but the wines always have beautiful purity and classy, balanced profiles. For this tasting, we started with their Les Gallimardes cuvee and finished with the Les Grenache de Pierre. I’ve listed the wines in the order tasted. In addition to superb reds, they made a rock-solid white. Starting with the Les Gallimardes cuvee, this bottling comes all from the Les Galimardes lieu-dit that’s located in the southern, warmer portion of the appellation. The soils here are mostly rolled pebbles, and the vines are over 100 years in age. The wine is almost all Grenache (roughly 10% Syrah), completely destemmed (as of 1999) and has the Grenache aged all in tank and the Syrah all in smaller barrels. It’s always a rich, sexy and full-throttle effort, yet to me, it offers thrilling Chateauneuf du Pape character and is easily one of my favorite wines. Compared to the Les Grenache de Pierre release, the Les Gallimardes is more exuberant, overflowing and hedonistic. In addition, they implemented a stricter selection for this cuvee in 2005 and moved to using only their older vines. I think it shows, as current releases have additional depth, concentration and purity. Moving to their Grenaches de Pierre releases (which translates to “Grenache of their Grandfather”), this cuvee comes from 100-year-old vines planted in the sandy soils of the La Crau and Pignan lieux-dits. It’s made from 100% Grenache and aged almost completely in concrete tank. It’s always slightly more polished than the Les Gallimardes release and has beautiful complexity and purity, while not skimping on the textured or depth of fruit that’s present in all of Marie’s wines., 2014

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