Saint Damien's 2021 Gigondas will prove to be a hot ticket item, as it is the only bottling they produced for the year.
The late Josh Raynolds (God rest his soul) of Vinous Media, summed it up perfectly: "Get it, lots of it, if you can." Well put Mr. Raynolds, and he went on to say this "is shaping up to be a highly impressive entry-level bottling, which is not surprising given that this is the only Gigondas that will be bottled this year, so all the juice from the Louisiane and Souteyrades is going into this wine."
Raynolds went on to rate it 95 points, and I've also noticed a lot of positive "chatter" about the wine on a number of blogs I subscribe to. It's a prime example of why you should be drinking more "small grower juice" -- they make the necessary sacrifices to maintain quality. You also can't judge EVERY wine by a generalized vintage report. I'm just sayin'....
2021 Saint Damien Gigondas 'Vieilles Vignes'
95 points Vinous Media
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Raynolds was one of the most respected writers and critics for Vinous, but he sadly and suddenly passed away earlier this year. Prior to his work there, he was a longtime contributor to Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, another highly-viable publication. In a nutshell, I always found his reviews to be accurate, well-worded, and in line with my own. May he rest in peace...
His words live on though, and his review of the 2021 Saint-Damien Gigonda VV is spot-on. "Vivid ruby. A highly fragrant bouquet evokes candied red fruits, smoky minerals and lavender; a spicy nuance builds as the wine opens up. Sappy and penetrating on the palate, juicy raspberry, cherry and floral pastille flavors show good heft, seamless texture and real energy. It finishes spicy and impressively long, with sneaky tannins adding a final grip. Drink over the next 10 years."
Fine wine is in the details folks, and when we're talking about small grower wines, the details can get complex. Large enterprises have been trying to homogenize and "dumb down" wine for years. While that simplification might work for some, it does not work for Table Wine clientele.....you all are advanced, and you want to know who makes your wine, what goes into it, and why it tastes the way it does.
Team Table Wine does the research so you don't have to! If you just "stay on the surface" of the '21 Rhone vintage, you'll see words like challenging, struggle, hard, uneven, and hard. But if you dig a bit deeper, you'll see that not all was lost. Integral producers like Saint-Damien did everything in their power to put out a wine that would honor their heritage, their history, and their consistency of greatness. They succeeded, and you will too if you get any of this one.
When it comes to Gigondas, one could make a compelling case that Saint-Damien is the best. Despite the fact that their Gigondas' cuvees always garner 95+ point scores, Joel Saurel hasn't really raised his prices in the past decade. I've proudly been selling their hearty and robust wines since opening the shop in 2010, I know their wines very well, and I can say with 100% confidence that their 2021 Gigondas Vieilles Vignes is a highly successful effort.
A blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah all from old, low-yielding vines, this is fermented in large concrete vats for 5 weeks before being aged in large oak foudres for 12 months. The finished wine is a big glass of Southern Rhone Joy! With good body and intensity paired with an elegant and silky texture, it's so pretty this vintage, and it's immediately accessible.
As Raynolds said, "Get it, lots of it, if you can." I've got 120 bottles up for grabs, so GET IT before it's gone. Enjoy on a cool evening with a big bowl of hearty stew or any sort of long-braised meat. Enjoy!
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Table Wine Asheville