Crash Course, Gigondas

Crash Course: Gigondas

The village of Gigondas traces its roots back to Roman times. Its original name, Jocunditas translates from Latin to “great pleasure” – serving as some breathing space for members of the Roman Legion. Known for its often powerful reds, Gigondas is sure to make an impact on your palate.

Often referred to as “the poor man’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape”, the region was established as its own appellation in 1971. A short drive, about 20 minutes or so out of Châteauneuf-du-Pape you’ll stumble onto this region – similarly focussed on red wine production, with the only exception being a small amount of rosé produced in miniscule quantities.

Interestingly, no white wine is made. Before receiving AOC status, Gigondas wines were mostly used to enhance wines made in Burgundy – adding colour and body, particularly in lesser vintages. Vines can be as high as 600m, often located on steep terraces cut into the mountainside. Although older practice was to vinify in cement vats, most estates have now moved over to oak barrels.

The Dentelles de Montmirail is a small mountainous ridge that makes up a very important piece of the geology in this region. It splits the appellation into two areas and each area has its own variation on the Mediterranean climate – one area cooler, the other warmer.

Regulations place an upper limit on the use of the Grenache grape, capping its content in Gigondas Rouge to 80%. Furthermore, a minimum of 15% Syrah or Mourvèdre must be included. Wines will generally benefit from at least three years in bottle, although the great estates and more “serious” wines can be laid down for ten years and more.