Thursday, November 21, 2013

Domaine de Font-Sane Gigondas, 1998

Most Cotes du Rhone Villages wines drink beautifully right from the start and continue at that level for 5 to 10 years or longer, depending on the wine and the appellation. In the best wines, there is some development of bouquet and flavor, of course, but the wines are accessible and enjoyable through most of their lifespan. Gigondas seems to me an exception. A good Gigondas shows beautifully in youth and then goes through a dumb period when tannins apparently hide the best qualities of aroma and flavor. Opening a bottle during this period is always frustrating because it's sometimes hard to tell if the wine has died or is merely slumbering.

Many tasters who should know better declared this 1998 Font-Sane Gigondas dead several years ago, and I had my own doubts. Over the past year, however, it has opened beautifully. Even this bottle, however, was a bit reticent on the first night and showed its best only when I brought out the Rabbit aerator.

The color has changed--more garnet now compared to the ruby of youth. But no amber that I can detect. Ripe black fruits--plums and berries--with herbs and a dash of pepper. Has that lifted aroma that is characteristic of Gigondas. Ripe flavors all the way back. Medium-long finish with good flavor interest.

There is no question in my mind that Cayron is the best and most ageworthy of all Gigondas wines. Font-Sane (the traditional cuvee) is not in the same class but is a good inexpensive option, usually selling for $18 to $20 right now. This 1998, which cost $12 on release, has held up well for 15 years.

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