Sunday, March 26, 2017

Brusset Les Haut de Montmirail Gigondas, 1990

Daniel Brusset was one of the first Gigondas winemakers to produce a wine using new oak barrels, indicating so with the words "eleve en futs de chene neufs." The wine got high praise from Robert Parker, but I was dubious when I tasted it against 20 or 30 other Gigondas wines at the tasting room in Gigondas in the spring of 1992. It won't age as well as traditional Gigondas, I predicted.

I still strongly favor traditional, non-oaked versions of Gigondas, but tasting this wine, now 27 years past its vintage date, I must admit that I was wrong about the aging. This wine is very good. And it tastes like a good Gigondas should.

The color is still fairly deep, and there is a heavy crust on one side of the bottle, which suggests to me that there is at least some Syrah in the blend. I like the bouquet--Burgundian aromatics with Gigondas dried cherries, tobacco and animal scents. If you were tasting it blind, the flavors would be a dead give-away that this is a Gigondas. Gigondas is only a few kilometers away from Chateauneuf du Pape on the south and Vacqueyras and Beaumes de Venise on the north, and the grapes used are the same for all of these Southern Rhone appellations, but there is something distinctive about the taste of Gigondas that I can't quite put my finger (or tongue?) on. There is power, for sure, even though the alcohol level is only 13%. And there are fruit and mineral traits that I love. Finally, I don't detect any of the new oak traits that I tasted in 1992. This is clearly produced from high quality grapes in a good vintage, and it has aged well.

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