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In early March we hosted Dany and Carole Chastan of the Clos du Joncuas for a winemaker dinner at Racines - it was a superb evening, showcasing how these real wines of terroir shine at the table, both when young and when mature. The living soils at Clos du Joncuas produce wines of great character, and we are proud to have a new shipment arriving this week, featuring the 2011, 2015 and 2016 Gigondas as well their new releases from Seguret and Vacqueyras.
Clos du Joncuas, founded in 1920 by Pierre Auguste Chastan, has always farmed with natural methods and has been officially organic since 1980. Currently run by sisters Dany and Carole Chastan, the estate's Gigondas vines are on slopes below the Dentelles de Montmirail, on soils of clay with dolomite and gypsum over the limestone of the Dentelles, and average 40 to 90 years old. Vinifications here are entirely old-school; whole-clusters fermented with wild yeasts in cement and aged in old barrels. Both in their farming and winemaking, they are the Domaine Gonon of Gigondas!
While recent vintages here have been uniformly good, the 2015 and 2016 Gigondas are particularly excellent, both for current drinking in their rather full and muscular youth and for cellaring to enjoy at maturity over the next 15 to 20 years. The estate's 2016 Vacqueyras, produced on stony limestone soils, is also outstanding in 2016 and a great value for drinking now and cellaring until about 2030 - 2032. While we enjoy the big and bold Joncuas Seguret Rouge, we are big fans of their Seguret Blanc, made primarily from Clairette, with many of the vines over 100 years-old - it's a very complex and full-flavored white that is perfect with fish, in sauce or stews, and pork and chicken dishes as well. Complex and full-flavored can also describe the 2018 Clos du Joncuas Rosé - a big favorite of the CSW staff, this is a real rosé of terroir that is a great accompaniment to grilled tuna, chicken or pork and is a fabulous aperitif.
Our thanks to Carole and Dany Chastan for their superb vineyard work and their no-nonsence vinifications - they are brilliantly upholding the real traditions of the Southern Rhone! (Wines arrive Friday June 7th)
80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah, on Triassic clay/limestone soils, always farmed organically. Whole cluster fermentation in vat with 12 months aging in large old barrels. The 2016 is another beautiful Gigondas from the Clos du Joncuas, perhaps with less fat and density than the 2015 but quite elegant and more Burgundian in style. The aromas sing of black cherry liqueur, licorice, black olive and garrigue; the palate is dense and focused with blackberry, cherry, black olive, bitter chocolate and earth with nice sappy length with firm acidity. Drinking well now, decant if possible, or hold for five years, then drink until about 2035. David Lillie
80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah, on Triassic clay/limestone soils, always farmed organically. Whole cluster fermentation in vat with 12 months aging in large old barrels. Although we love this beautifully old-fashioned, organic wine in every vintage, Dany and Carole Chastan have made perhaps their best wine ever in 2015! The wine shows deep aromas of blackberry, dark chocolate, prune, garrigue, musk and citrus, quite focused and elegant. The palate is pure, supple and balanced, even at 15% alcohol, with dense blackberry, tart cherry, red currant, spice, earth and minerals, with tart red fruits, minerals and citrus in the very long finish. This is a superb Gigondas that can be enjoyed immensely now with a steak, pork or lamb chops, Morrocan tagines and full-flavored cheeses. Cellar 10 to 15 years for a mature experience. This is a superb wine and a great value - thanks to Carole and Dany for their great farming and traditional winemaking!
This is Gigondas at its finest! 100% Grenache from massale selection old vines, fermented in cement, and aged in large oak vats before being bottled unfined and unfiltered with minimal added sulphur. 2015 is a great vintage for Dany and Carole Chastan at the Clos du Joncuas, and their 2015 Esprit de Grenache is simply outstanding. Since 1900 the estate has been farmed organically and the winemaking here is completely traditional with whole-cluster fermentations and aging in old foudres. Tasted at the estate in January of 2017, the wine showed dense elegant black fruit aromas with licorice and earth. The palate is pure and long with deep blackberry flavors with olive, earth, citrus and bitter chocolate - just fantastic! As with all the 2015s here, the wine is delicious in its youthful fruit and intensity, but ten to fifteen years of aging will reveal a truly great southern Rhone Grenache. Very highly recommended! DL
Tasted in January of 2019 in France, the 2011 Clos du Joncuas Gigondas showed beautifully, opening up nicely with flavors of earthy cherry, blackberry and garrigue, with licorice and spice in the long finish, really ready to drink, although five more years would bring a softer and more secondary experience. Highly recommended. David Lillie
From 80% Grenache with Syrah and Mourvedre, grown on gravelly limestone terraces, always farmed organically, whole-cluster fermention and aged in concrete vats. Dany and Carole Chastan have made another superb Vacqueyras in 2016, a bit brighter than the opulent 2015 version, showing dark black/red color and bright aromas of blackberry, black olive and licorice with plum skin, garrigue, violet and bitter chocolate. This young wine is showing deep black fruits with firm acidity and terrific length with chalky mineral notes, earth, citrus and olive. This will be fantastic with grilled foods, stews and tagines and will develop nicely over the next 10 - 15 years. Highly recommended and a great value! David Lillie
70% Grenache, with Carignan, Syrah and Mourvèdre, always farmed organically, hand harvested, whole-cluster wild yeast fermentation, aged in cement vat, un-fined, unfiltered. The 2015 Seguret shows a very dark red/black color, with aromas of ripe cherry and strawberry liqueur, prune, earth, stone and provençal spices. The palate is quite dense and supple with black berry, prune and earth with red currant and floral notes backed with firm citrusy acids, very saline and long in the finish. This is a big, solid wine that has opened up nicely over the past year, becoming softer, velvety and complex - just delicious! It will accompany steaks, chops and burgers, a daube niçoise, tagines and full flavored cheeses. It's a fabulous value for drinking over the next five years. David Lillie
50% Clairette (some vines 100 years-old) with Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier, always organically farmed, wild yeast fermentation, aged in enamel vat. Floral dried pear, apricot, hay, thyme aromas. Ripe pear, stone, caramel, lemon, anise on the palate. A complex, ripe wine with a supple palate but with good acidity that will pair with fish stews, shellfish, pork and chicken dishes as well as full-flavored goat cheeses. This is an outstanding Southern Rhône white and a great value! David Lillie
This is a beautiful Gigondas Rosé from our organic friends at Clos du Joncuas. Pretty bright pink/orange color, aromas of raspberry, tart cherry, blood orange, peach skin and rose. Full palate with silky raspberry, peach, citrus and mineral flavors and firm acidity, beatifully balanced and refreshing. Long finish with tart cherry, peach, earth, and citrusy acids. A bit riper and more expressive than the 2017, and still young – it should open up nicely over the next two years. It's elegant and delicious now and very food-friendly – serve with grilled fish and white meats, salade nicoise, vegetarian dishes and Provençal foods. A great rosé to enjoy all year-round!
80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah, always farmed organically. Whole cluster fermentation in vat with 12 months aging in large old barrels. This is a dense, old-school Gigondas that needs time. Dark purple/black color, deep blackberry aromas with earth, brown spice, prune and licorice. The palate is deep and dense with blackberry, garrigue, earth and mineral flavors framed in firm tannins and acidity Long finish of earthy minerals and black fruits. (April 2015) Tasted in January 2017 at the estate, the wine showed fabulous aromas of berry liqueur, earth, mint, garrigue and licorice; the palate was beautifully structured, deep, elegant and balanced with firm acidity and a great finish. Ten years from maturity but beautiful now with a steak if you can't wait... Bravo to the Chastan family for continuing to make wines like this!