Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Domaine Grand-Romane Gigondas Cuvee Boisee, 1990

Traditional Gigondas is made in foudres--large, old barrels that have become neutral in terms of the aromas and flavors they impart. This "cuvee boisee" was one of the early experiments in the use of new oak, inspired undoubtedly by American importers and critics. Better known examples are Brusset's Les Haut de Montmirail and Domaine les Goubert's Cuvee Florence. At the time, I was intrigued by these experiments but didn't buy many because they were more expensive than the traditional cuvees and I didn't like the oak-influenced aromas and flavors. My suspicion was that they would not age well, and I think this wine is a prime example.

Medium deep color with some browning and a good deal of sediment. A note of oxidation is apparent from the first sniff along with more positive smells of toffee and spicy dried fruit. On the palate, though, there are some deep, haunting flavors that make it worth drinking. It's actually quite enjoyable on the first night. On the second, it becomes sweeter and more Port-like while the oxidation becomes more apparent.

Admittedly, 21 years is a long time to age any Gigondas, but I have recently had a 1988 Cayron and 1989 Saint Gayan that were showing much better. If anyone has a tasting note from the 1990 regular cuvee of Grand-Romane, I would be highly intrigued. For now, though, I will continue to avoid the wood cuvees.


  1. Dear Fred,
    Thanks for your post. 1990 was a really good vintage for Gigondas with more body and deepness than 1989. But it was our first vintage for Gigondas Domaine Grand Romane and we had some oxidation on bottling time... you surely have found 21 years after. If you are interested in tasting notes on Gigondas wines, I should recommand you Gigondas book with John Livingstone commentaries

  2. Thanks for your comment, Monsieur Amadieu. Previously, I hadn't connected the Grand-Romane and Pierre Amadieu labels, but I have fond memories of a Pierre Amadieu Gigondas I had at a sidewalk cafe in Orange in 2005 or 2006. It was the best wine I had during my trip to France that year, and I've been looking for Pierre Amadieu Gigondas ever since. Unfortunately, your wines usually don't make it to my area of Michigan.

    I also enjoyed many bottles of the 1990 Grand Romane over the years, and this was the last bottle that had been overlooked in the cellar. Despite the oxidation, it did have some beautiful mature flavors. I also have a left over bottle of the 1990 Les Hauts de Montmirail of Brusset that I should try soon.

    I'll admit I have a bias against the oak-aged cuvees and prefer the more traditional Gigondas. What is your view on the matter?