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  • Writer's pictureJohn Paul Kaminga

The Whole Cluster: Gour de Chaulé

When it comes to Rhone wines, we wine lovers of Massachusetts are spoiled for choice. There are so many great wines here, and they're very often fabulous values. What, then, makes this one so special?

There are many things that Gour de Chaule does right (estate-grown fruit, organic farming, spontaneous fermentation, neutral aging vessels, low sulfur additions... the list could go on) but it is perhaps their use of whole cluster fermentation* that really sets them apart from the average Rhone wine. This practice is not unique to Gour de Chaule, there are a few very highly regarded Rhone wineries that do not destem their grapes (think Rayas, Bonneau, Allemand..), but for the most part, the practice is usually thought of with Pinot producers. What does stem inclusion impart to a finished wine? Elegance, one might argue. Stem inclusion will tend to yield wines with lower alcohol and complex earthy, floral, and herbal notes, all things I'm excited to find in Gigondas, a region where wines tend to be high in alcohol and focused on super ripe fruit flavors.

Long story short, in tasting Gour de Chaule's 2019 Cuvee Tradition, I was totally seduced. This is the kind of Grenache I want to drink all the time, and I am convinced it's one of the best values we have on our shelves right now. This is a very serious wine. You might consider stocking up...

Domaine du Gour de Chaulé Gigondas Cuvée Tradition 2019 - $39

Lifted and sweet on the nose, there's gorgeous purity and freshness despite its intense ripeness. Aromas of raspberry jam, kirsch, blue plum, dried orange peel, thyme and lavender, a little petrichor and airy spice... Full and vibrant, layers of ripe fruit are offset by pleasantly bitter notes of fruit skin and fresh herbs, pretty serious tannins here, intense mineral and spice notes build on the finish, but perfect cherry and raspberry notes remain strong. This is spectacular. Young and tense, it's simply beautiful now, but could use some time. I'm thinking 3 to 5 years before it really opens up, and it should be in fine form in 15+.

Buy 3 bottles of Gour de Chaulé Gigondas Cuvée Tradition 2019 and we'll knock 15% off your order.

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