“Joyous” Gigondas

  by Chris Santini

For me, it’s no surprise—legend has it that Gigondas derived its name many moons ago from jucunda, Latin for “joyous.” I personally associate Gigondas with many joyous occasions, beginning back in the 1980s when as a kid I would accompany my father on trips there, where he would purchase the fresh vintage in bulk, which we would then bottle ourselves by hand. Later, in the 1990s, my siblings and I figured out how to dismantle the lock on the cellar door and empty said bottles over a few (quite joyous) days. How can I forget the 1999 Les Pallières I cracked open ten years ago the day Kermit hired me here in Beaune? Of course, I still recall the palpable excitement and joy in the cellar of Les Pallières back in 2008, tasting through the 2007 vintage with Kermit and the Brunier brothers, the day the code of Pallières terroir was finally cracked and the decision made to bottle “Terrasse du Diable” and “Les Racines” as two distinct cuvées.

A joyous wine, like a joyous person, is one that is bien dans sa peau, as the French say, “comfortable in one’s skin.” Gigondas is small enough, far enough off the radar, to be able to pay no heed to trends and fashions. In neighboring Châteauneuf-du-Pape, for example, with a reputation and a price tag that allow no room for disappointment, winemakers have often turned to consultants to help make wines sure to please the public’s taste of the day. Gigondas, with a loyal and long-term following, can just carry on as usual. Who doesn’t like a little bit of joy in their glass?

The two cuvées from Les Pallières showcase the two facets of Gigondas that have produced such loyalty and transcended changes in taste over the centuries. The Terrasse du Diable is all about the marked minerality and freshness of higher-elevation vineyards, planted in the fallen rocks from the 200-million-year-old Dentelles de Montmirail that tower above. The Les Racines cuvée displays the silky, deep, complex expression of old-vine Gigondas, which is planted around the house, chapel, and winery. The 2014 vintage offers exceptional balance, plenty of violet, lavender, and licorice-infused tannins, and, as always, an abundance of joy.

per case

2014 Gigondas “Les Racines” >


2014 Gigondas “Terrasse du Diable” >


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