Our Tasting Impressions
Beautiful pure fruit in perfect harmony with earth and savory flavors. Once again, the Gigous manage to elevate what might otherwise be a simple, modest wine into something delightful and provocative. Certainly for drinking now but on our last visit, Ludovic served a 1990 that was fresh, intriguing and wonderful. And this vintage is providing ample indications that it will continue to develop and evolve very well.
About this wine
100% Gamay from 40 year old vines in limestone and clay soil in the Côteaux du Loir. Organically farmed and machine harvested to minuscule yields of 25 hl/ha. Traditional maceration with malolactic fermentation in tanks for 4-6 weeks followed by 3 years aging in 225 liter oak barrels.
About the grape
Gamay, a descendent of Pinot Noir crossed with the obscure Gouais Blanc has often been thought of as a light grape but the emergence of Cru Beaujolais in recent years has raised awareness that it can produce serious, age-worthy wines. Gamay wines are high in acidity and therefore very flexible.
On Your Table
Beaujolais is the traditional drink with steak frites but give Gigou't a whirl. The higher acidity and diminished ripeness make for a nice pairing.
The Gigou family operates their quaint farm in the central northern reaches of the Loire Valley - not far from Le Mans, home to the famed 24-hour auto road race. Joël, who is credited with saving the appellation of Jasnières, started the estate in 1974 along with his gracious wife Sylvie. His son Ludovic now handles much of the management and his sister Dorothée has recently joined in the efforts.
Their 8 hectares of vineyards in Jasnières are planted to Chenin Blanc producing dry whites - and sweet in vintages when botrytis (noble rot) occurs. The entire appellation is only 108 hectares and the soil of mostly flint and tuffeau limestone is unique - giving Chenin from Jasnières distinct flavors. They farm without chemicals harvestIng 60% by hand and 40% by machine (stems left on for the Chenin).
Gamay and Pineau d'Aunis (and Chenin for one white) is planted in Côteaux du Loir (5ha) for their reds and rosé. They also produce sparkling wines in all three colors that are not appellation specific. The range of wines is extensive despite producing only about 40-50,000 bottles per year. There are lots of old vines.
Now the remarkable part, Ludovic told me they keep all their bottled wines in their cellar for at least one or two years. I asked why they do this (wondering how a small estate can defer the revenue). He replied, The wine decides when it's ready. In some cases, he would hold them back even longer, except they are often out of storage space. Truly a portrait of a family whose prime concern is that the wines that bear their name are special.
VDLT is the only active North American source for Gigou’s wines.