Mix and match with other Direct wines from this producer for minimum purchase of 6 bottles (or equivalent of 4500mL) per producer. Purchases must be in multiples of 6. Ships directly from winery to you in a few weeks - $4/bottle for 12 (+$2 if order less than $400) or more & $6/bottle for 6 (+$2 if order less than $200)per producer.
Our tasting impressions
Might this top the extraordinary 2016 Tradition? Time will tell, and it could be a long time as both seem built for decades of beneficial cellaring. The 2017 is brooding but with extended decanting (or just leave it open for a day or two), it is reasonably approachable and flat out amazing! The deep, dark red fruit is highly structured and while the wine is big, it is no monolith. The village of Gigondas has a wonderful herb garden and the smell of this wine reminds of walking through it. Outstanding!
About this wine
Gigondas vineyards rest on the slopes leading up to the Dentelles de Montmirail and the erosion from these mountains composes the limestone & clay soil. The elevation (up to 330m above sea level) and the dry soil force the roots deep to find moisture, absorbing all the minerals in their path.
The average age of the vines is 50 years but some are twice that. The grapes are hand-harvested & sorted, and a minority are de-stemmed. Yields are miserly - about 27 hl/ha.
Tradition is 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah & 10% Mourvèdre. Fermentation involves natural, wild yeasts. JB uses cement tanks, which he thinks best hold temperatures evenly and allow for some oxygen penetration.
The wine is aged for 18 months, mostly in a combination of old 228-liter barriques and 50hl foudres. About 20,000 bottles are produced after a light filtration.
About the vintage
2017 presented everything but the kitchen sink conditions - frost, heavy rain and searing heat. The harvest was early and it produced very modest yields. The fruit was similarly small in size but packed with high quality, concentrated juice.
About the grape blend
A typical blend, sometimes referred to as G-S-M. Grenache the preeminent red wine grape of the Southern Rhône, makes full-bodied, red-fruited wine. It enjoys very dry, hot and windy conditions but the vines produce scant fruit which means great concentration. The Syrah provides structure, savoriness and black fruit, while the Mourvèdre contributes length, tannins and floral notes.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Cru
Jean-Baptiste Meunier (JB) is a fifth generation vineyard owner in picturesque Gigondas. But the name Moulin de La Gardette (La Gardette was the estate’s original vineyard) did not appear on a wine bottle until the 1940’s. Prior, many other crops were farmed and grapes were sold for use in Châteauneuf du Pape.
JB assumed management in 1988 after studying winemaking in Carcassonne and working in Napa Valley as well as close to home. The estate is 25 acres across numerous vineyards where he organically farms Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. He makes just 3 wines, Tradition (his flagship), Ventabren (a special, very old vine cuvée) and La Petite Gardette (younger vines).
He has a scientific air as he describes his processes and experiments. Yet you can feel that he makes wine as much with his heart as his mind. He is deeply connected to his vines and his cellar. This is evident in the profound and moving wines he produces.