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.
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. You also won't find too many Beaujolais with a current release 4 years past the vintage. Serve at 55-59°.
The Gigou family operates their quaint 13 hectares farm in the central northern reaches of the Loire Valley - not far Le Mans, home to the famed 24-hour auto road race. Joël 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 vineyards lie in Jasnières (8ha) and Côteaux du Loir (5ha), two fairly obscure appellations that might have faded into oblivion if not for the fine wines and tireless promotion from this family.
The vineyards in Jasnières are planted to Chenin Blanc to produce all but one of their whites, including a sweet Chenin in vintages when botrytis (noble rot) occurs.
Gamay and Pineau d'Aunis (and the Chenin for one white) is planted in Côteaux du Loir to produce 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.
They farm without chemicals. They harvest 60% by hand and 40% by machine (for the white grapes with stems left intact).
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 North American source for current vintages of Gigou’s wines.