Santa Duc Gigondas Aux Lieux Dits 2018
75% Grenache, 13% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah, 2% Cinsault. Rising as a pillar of quality out of the soils of Gigondas is Domaine Santa Duc—an estate that’s history stretches back to 1874. Through five generations, the caretakers of the domaine have demonstrated a respect for the land, with Santa Duc ascending to prominence as a pioneer of organic viticulture in the region under the care of its indomitable vigneron, Yves Gras. The wines cultivated by Gras typify classic Gigondas—elegant, focused, polished. In his 32 years at the helm, Gras has branched out to nearby Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Rasteau, creating wines of exceptional balance and quality. Gras seamlessly integrates fruit born from two distinct soil types into harmonious cuvees that are representative of the unique terroir of the Southern Rhone Valley. In working only with indigenous yeasts and bottling without filtration, Gras executes with a simplicity that leads to purity of expression in his wines. With the 2017 vintage, Gras’ son, Benjamin, has assumed the helm of Domaine Santa Duc, making his mark immediately with the introduction of biodynamic farming techniques and the construction of a new winemaking facility on the property. Their Aux Lieux-Dits bottling is the best representation of the Gigondas appellation. From eight different named places, or lieux-dits, from all around Gigondas, this wine is not only expressed through the parcels but also through the four typical Rhone grape varieties, each one of them bringing its personality and complementarity, contributing to the overall picture. The average age of the vines is 40 years old and everything is done with respect to nature. After fermentation, the wine spends 18 months in Stockinger foudres and terracotta amphorae before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. It is a gorgeous wine that shows why Gigondas is the most under-the-radar appellation in the Rhone and why Santa Duc is the top domaine of this area.