Written by Yohan Castaing 

Cuvées and cuvées, everywhere cuvées... Grandiloquent, economical, ruinous, instructive. Why so many vintages?

We have a job, wine critic, which is envied by many, but not well known, and which brings dreams to all enlightened wine lovers. So why complain about such a crowd?

It is true that tasting the 2015 vintage in the southern Rhone Valley, rarely has the number of "special cuvees" been so important. The vintage without doubt, particularly qualitative. Not as great as in the northern Rhone, but of a very good quality with "satisfactory" yields according to several winemakers, meaning yields that can support his man.

Everything had started well, the winter was cold at first. Then the spring, rainy but not too much, allowing the flowering, this crucial moment, to take place in almost perfect conditions.

Contrary to 2014 and 2013, Grenache, a grape variety sensitive to coulure (abortion of vine flowers) managed to bloom its buds and flowers without any worries. The summer was hot and relatively dry. A few welcome thunderstorms, of course, but above all a heat that was not excessive. The cool nights allowed the vineyard to withstand the excessive temperatures of the day. The harvest, without a hitch, even if we had to be vigilant about the dates of picking, as the ripeness sometimes played a roller coaster game.

The sanitary state was exceptional and the winegrowers began to dream of a vintage that would rival those of the north. From the Northern Rhône, that is. For them, the exceptional was there and then. In the Southern Rhône, it was close, but a few little audible signs left the optimum in the arms of Mother Nature. So, when you are a winemaker and you see such beautiful grapes, the temptation is not far away. We wait. Sometimes a little too much.


And unfortunately, this time that we thought was positive turns out to be negative. Nothing really bad, just a little too much extraction, a poorly controlled maceration in temperature, and unsuitable barrel choices.

The result is wines that express their dense and rustic side, a little austere for some, too woody for others. They are on the fringe, but it is a pity in such a beautiful appellation as Gigondas to see a year of remarkable potential diminished by avoidable mistakes.

So, the winemaker takes out of his bag of tricks, the special vintage. For a great vintage, an exceptional cuvée. Sometimes it works, but in Gigondas, as in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the results are mixed. Some cuvées are special in name only. Others are particularly successful. The locomotives, those who make "every year" cuvées or who work perfectly, make exceptional wines. The others, less so. In the end, it is with a mixed and worried feeling that we look at the 106 different wines. There have never been so many in Gigondas. Vintages and vintages, everywhere vintages...

Perhaps a commercial artifice to increase the turnover. Selling a special cuvée more expensive than the so-called traditional cuvée, why not, provided that it is really special. Fortunately, the prices in the Rhône are not those of Burgundy. If there is an increase, it remains limited.

So, as always, the wines of Gigondas will appear as good opportunities for those who know how to wait. As you will have understood, we will have to wait for this 2015 vintage which will bring beautiful, very beautiful, even exceptional bottles.

And in front of so many choices, let's remain phlegmatic. Let's reassure ourselves by invoking a positive dynamism and let's leave aside this vision of lined up bottles, vintages and vintages, everywhere vintages...


Les Dessous Des Dentelles 2015


Very floral nose, slightly violet,

peony, a little pink. Garrigue and

wild grass on aeration. Texture

juicy, tasty, very nice tannins

tannins with the freshness which comes to

support the whole. It is a very

beautiful wine, full of promise.


Le Parpaillon  2015  


Nose a little shy, discreet with

some touches of red fruits. Develops

develops with aeration with spicy

spicy notes. Well-built palate,

structuring, young tannins and a

balanced ensemble. A sure value.