Domaine des Bosquets
Gigondas - Rhône Valley
Jed Dunnuck: "Under the helm of the young Julien Brechet, Domaine des Bosquets has quickly risen into the top handful of estates in Gigondas, as well as in all of the Southern Rhône".
Domaine des Bosquets "Tradition" 2015 - Gigondas
This is the main wine of the estate. The wine is based on 70% Grenache Noir, 20% Syrah and some Mourvèdre and Cinsault in the blend, the percentage of each grape variety will slightly differ depending on the vintage. The vines are of an average age of 50 years old and the yield averages 25 hl/ha depending on the vintage. The hand-picked grapes are destemmed before a pre-fermentation skin maceration that will last 5 to 7 days. The fermentations in stainless steel vats will last about 4 weeks at 28°C. Ageing in the underground cellar will last 18 months: 50% of the volume in concrete vats and 50% in demi-muids barrels (20% new) for 12 months. The latter will be blended with the other half in concrete vats for the remaining 6 months.
PVins notes: The wine is dark in colour, it is aromatically complex with garrigue and spices on the nose. Medium to full-bodied, well-balanced, its freshness from the vineyard's altitude makes it approachable in its youth, its tannic structure will smooth out after a couple of years of cellaring. A great wine to cellar over 10+ years.
Wine Advocate 92-94
Looking at the classic cuvee, the 2015 Gigondas is a wine that readers should buy by the case. A blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and the balance Mourvèdre and Cinsault, it offers up gorgeous notes of black raspberry, fruit tart, spice and incense in a medium to full-bodied, ultra pure, seamless style that just begs to be drunk. It will keep for over a decade.
Wine Spectator 93
This drips with lush raspberry and boysenberry coulis flavors, inlaid with anise, black tea and violet accents. The long finish is silky and very persistent, with a light chalky thread for contrast. Drink now through 2030.
Jeb Dunnuck 91
The classic 2015 Gigondas offers a charming, elegant, yet nicely textured personality to go with lots of black raspberries, spice, incense and dried flower aromas and flavors. It’s a beautiful, classic Gigondas that has sweet tannin and a decade or more of prime drinking.
Domaine des Bosquets "Le Lieu Dit" 2015 - Gigondas
A premium Grenache Noir wine produced with old vines planted on sandy soils facing North-West. The name of the wine is also the name of the small parcel located just outside the cellar. The low yield averages 16 hl/ha depending on the vintage. The grapes are hand-picked and 70% will be destemmed before a pre-fermentation skin maceration that will last 5 to 7 days. The fermentations in stainless steel vats will last about 4 weeks at 28°C. Ageing in the underground cellar will last 18 months in demi-muids barrels of 600 litres of which none are new.
Wine Advocate 95-97
More finesse-oriented than the blockbuster style La Colline release, the 2015 Gigondas le Lieu Dit is another Grenache-dominated wine that comes from a cooler, late parcel of sandy soils located just beside the estate. Notes of strawberries, raspberries, crushed flowers, kirsch and spice all emerge from this full-bodied, utterly seamless, pure and gorgeously balanced beauty that doesn’t have a hard edge to be found. It will drink well for 10-15 years or more.
Wine Spectator 95
Intense raspberry and boysenberry fruit unwinds slowly here, with light bergamot, black tea and violet notes skittering throughout. The structure is ample but very fine-grained, and there's lilting perfume lingering on the mineral-edged finish. Approachable, but try to hold off a bit. Best from 2019 through 2030.
Jeb Dunnuck 95
The 2015 Gigondas Le Lieu-Dit is almost as good, yet plays in a dramatically different style, offering perfumed, elegant notes of framboise, strawberries, kirsch, dried flowers, forest floor and lots of sandy/loamy/soil notes. Coming from a cool, sandy terroir located just beside the estate and 100% Grenache aged all in older demi-muids, it possesses full-bodied richness, a seamless, silky texture, fine tannin and terrific length. The Chambolle-Musigny of the Rhône? Give bottles a few years and drink through 2030.
Domaine des Bosquets "La Colline" 2015 - Gigondas
A premium Grenache Noir wine produced with old vines from a 1.5 ha parcel planted on marl-limestone soils at 350m in altitude and facing West. The low yield averages 15 hl/ha depending on the vintage. The grapes are hand-picked and 70% will be destemmed before a pre-fermentation skin maceration that will last 5 to 7 days. The fermentations in stainless steel vats will last about 32 days at 28°C. Ageing in the underground cellar will last 18 months in demi-muids barrels of 600 litres.
Wine Advocate 96-99
Coming from a small corner parcel of the La Colline vineyard, the utterly sensational 2015 Gigondas La Colline is primarily Grenache that includes a touch of whole clusters and is still aging in one- to three-year-old demi-muids. It possesses a huge nose of black raspberries, blackcurrants, toasted spice and garrigue in a stacked, full-bodied, concentrated, yet weightless style. It’s certainly up with the top handful of wines in the vintage and should not be missed!
Jeb Dunnuck 97
Up there with the finest wines made from the entire Southern Rhône in 2015, the 2015 Gigondas La Colline is a jaw-dropping effort offering serious amounts of black raspberries, camphor, dried flowers, and spice. Made from 100% Grenache that was mostly destemmed and aged all in 1-3-year-old demi-muids, this heavenly Gigondas has full-bodied richness, a stacked mid-palate, loads of sweet tannin and a great, great finish. Buy it if you can.
Wine Spectator 96
This brims with dark plum, blueberry, raspberry and boysenberry fruit flavors, all moving seamlessly together while the finish picks up a fine inlay of anise, black tea and chalky minerality. Pure and very long. Best from 2019 through 2032.
Records dating since 1376, indicate the existence of "vinea culta" at the lieu-dit "Les Bosquets" in Gigondas. It is in this precise spot that Jean de RIVIERE, Lord of Laval, built Domaine des Bosquets in 1644. It comprised a tower alongside a vast Provencial farmhouse overlooking the Rhône Valley. Several iconic personalities are known to have stayed here. But Eugène Raspail is at the origin of the development of the estate and Gigondas from 1861. Born in Gigondas in 1812, he became a Lawyer and a vigneron later in life. He was a strong believer in the new Republic and was elected Deputy of the Vaucluse for a while. After a tumultuous life, he returned to Gigondas after having spent a few years in exile in Italy. He inherited an estate from his father and also purchased the Domaine des Bosquets with its 37 ha. He planted a further 9 hectares the following year and another 26 ha the following years. By 1864, his wine business had become so important that even Napoleon III approved a reward for his work. He was also dedicated to his passion of archeology and geology making him the first person to note in detail the geological complexity of Gigondas. Unfortunatly all his efforts were decimated with the arrival of the phylloxera in the 1870s. He returned to politics until 1881 and retired and passed away in Gigondas in 1888. One of his biographers, Robert Bailly, noted: "Eugène Raspail had given an intelligent and necessary impulse to improve yields and especially bring a greater awareness of the wines of Gigondas. May be - but surely - thanks to his dynamic action the commune was able to obtain the appellation Gigondas".
A century later, it is another visionary, Gabriel Meffre, who takes the reins of the Domaine and gives it back all its nobility. In 1930, he bought his first vines in Gigondas and in 1936 became a Négociant-Eleveur (winegrower-negociant). He invested in vineyards in the Rhone Valley and Provence until the beginning of the 1980's. With 800 hectares of vines purchased, he became the biggest owner of AOC vines in France. Over the years his acquisitions included Château de Vaudieu in Châteauneuf du Pape, Domaine des Bosquets and Château de la Coulerette in Provence, just to name a few. In 1987 he passed away and these three estates were inherited by his daughter Sylvette Bréchet who took over the destiny of the Domaines. Under her leadership, her son Laurent Bréchet, joined her in the development of Domaine des Bosquets by building a completely new cellar shaped as a circular Provencial Chapel, improving the winemaking process by gravity and also building an underground ageing cellar. In 2006, it is her other son Julien who takes over the management of the estate with a great determination to further improve the quality with the oenologist consultant Philippe Cambie. Laurent is now concentrating his efforts on managing the family's main estate Château de Vaudieu in Châteauneuf du Pape. The Bréchet family has now been making wines in Gigondas for over 5 generations.
It is no coincidence that vines averaging 50 years of age, with their roots plunging deep in the soil, have been growing in this lieu-dit "Les Bosquets" for over 6 centuries. Sheltered from the Mistral wind, the 100,000 vines representing 26 ha slowly ripen in lush greenery set on terraces, producing low yields of 15 hl/ha to 25 hl/ha depending on the wine. The altitude is beneficial to the balance between the vibrant freshness and maturity of the fruit. The terroir is mainly based on very old soils dating back about 125 million years composed of mixed blue and calcareous marls. This geological feature gives racy, minerally and elegant wines.
Since 2009 Julien has developped a parcellaire approach taking in to account the difference soils on the estate. To express the potential of each type of terroir he decided to create a range of parcellaire wines starting with the "Le Lieu Dit" in 2009, "La Colline" in 2013 and since 2016 "Le Plateau" and "Les Routes".
Sustainable farming with some organic principals is used with a plot by plot approach “selection parcellaire”. Grass is grown between some of the rows to encourage bio-diversity, green havest and canopy management are implemented. All these measures in the vineyard are made to expresses the quintessence of the terroir. Domaine des Bosquet relies on 4 grape varieties, but it is the Grenache that dominates as on this particular terroir its balance is quite remarkable. The other 3 grape varieties planted are the Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault which are an integral part of the wines of the area, bringing aromatic complexity, structure and also a good ageing potential.
Only the best clusters will pass the cellar's door. The grapes are hand-picked in the morning to keep the freshness of the grapes before going into the cellar where they will be handled smoothly by gravity. This meticulous procedure allows a smoother and more gradual extraction during the pre-fermentation skin macerations, favouring increased complexity and structure. Each grape variety is fermented separately in stainless steel vats so that each variety and plot is looked after individually. The ageing will last 15 to 18 months, partly in concrete vats and partly in barrels. The Syrah is aged in 228 litre french oak barrels, while 600 litres demi-muids barrels and concrete vats will be used for the Grenache according to its profile. The wines are estate bottled without filtration.
Julien Bréchet produces 5 wines which are 3 reds, a rosé under the appellation Gigondas and a confidential amount of 800 bottles of a white wine from Grenache Blanc and Roussanne. The range of red wines produced starts with the main cuvée "Tradition" followed by two premium "parcellaire" wines produced based on the quality and potential of their individual terroir. The cuvée "Le Lieu Dit" is produced from old Grenache planted on sandy soil situated in the first original plot of the estate dating back to 1376. The parcel is located near the cellar and only 3000 to 4000 bottles of this powerful, elegant and refine wine are produced. Since 2013, the cuvée "La Colline" meaning "the hill" is produced from a 1 ha parcel of old Grenache Noir, situated at an altitude of 300 metres at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail where the climate is cooler. The terroir is made of marl and limestone. This premium wine is dark in colour, beautifully perfumed, full-bodied and ultra-pure with fine tannins. Extra care is taken after bottling, as the wines produced are put to rest in the underground cellar for a couple of years before release.
Since 1971 Gigondas is one of the 5 “Cru” appellations of the southern Rhône region covering 1,210 hectares. It is located 15 kilometres to the east of Orange at the foot hill of the Dentelles de Montmirail, a 200 million years old majestic grey limestone mountain with its highest peak at 732 metres in altitude. Gigondas has never been known by another name, but some theories propose that the name comes from “gignit undas” or “springing forth from water”, describing this mountainous area that conceals a huge subterranean reservoir. A second theory states that the name comes from a Latin Saint’s name Jucunda or “joyful”. Another possibility is that the name was taken from Jucundus, the region’s first landowner and veteran of the 2nd Roman Legion. The appellation’s natural borders are the Dentelles de Montmirail to the east, the Ouvèze River to the west, the Trignon torrent to the north and the hills leading down from the Dentelles to the south.
The Romans are credited with the creation of the first vineyards following the discovery in the area of clay vats used to store wine. Harvests were first regulated in the 18th century and around the turn of the 20th century, Gigondas wines distinguished themselves by winning medals in tasting contests across France. In 1956, in the wake of the severe frosts that ravaged the olive groves at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail, the hillsides were replanted as vineyards. The area quickly obtained Côtes-du-Rhône Villages status in 1966 and was later awarded “Cru” status on 6 January 1971 for its high quality wines.
The vineyards of Gigondas are nestled in a unique protected natural site that begin on the plateau at an altitude of 100 metres gently climbing up around the village to finish with abrupt slopes of up to 430 metres in altitude at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail. The majority of the appellation’s vineyards, which are located on the Ouvèze terrace, have a westerly orientation while in other areas the vineyards face north-west and south at the foothills of the Dentelles. As the sun rises in the east hidden by the Dentelles, the vineyards have a limited exposure to the sun in the morning. This natural phenomena significantly lengthens the maturation of the Grenache which is usually harvested about two weeks after its neighbour Châteauneuf du Pape. The unique geology influenced by the secondary, tertiary, and quaternary periods provides unique structured terroirs that will influence the structure of the wines.
The complexity of the soils structure may be defined as follow depending on the areas:
- The western area near the village around the colluvial cone Font des Papes contains limestone fragments, sand and marl, while a little further towards the plains, the terrace created by the Ouvèze river reveals brown gravel and marl with alluvial deposits from the Quaternary period.
- To the north, the soil is covered by lower Neocomian and Gault stage soils, green granite and chlorite chalk.
- To the east in the valley near Cayron, clay marls alternate with layers of blue and yellow limestone. On the southern side in the "Col D’Alsau" Valley, the mountainous terrain exclusively contains cretaceous limestone fragments and grey marl from the secondary period.
- The lower southern areas also contain sandstones hillsides, Miocene sands, grit and marl from the Tertiary period.
The Grenache Noir, up to 80% of the blend, is the dominant grape. Other grapes such as the Syrah and Mourvèdre (15% minimum) are used to strengthen the wine. All other grape varieties covered by the Côtes du Rhône appellation are authorised excluding the Carignan and the following varieties may make up to 10% of the wine: Cinsault, Clairette, Terret Noir, Counoise and Picardan. The regulated yields are low limited to 36 hectoliters per hectare. Concentrated, balanced and refined, Gigondas wines range from ruby to dark red in colour. The nose unveils a rich and fine bouquet of red fruits (cherries, strawberries) and ripe blackberry fruits. Also depending on the terroir, as it is so complex, a range of aromas are found going from aromas of prunes and figs to white pepper, scrub, thyme and liquorice. The palate is full-bodied, robust with firm tannins in their youth offering a great potential for ageing as the wines become more refined over time. The wines of Gigondas don't enjoy the same reputation as those of Châteauneuf du Pape even though they can be very similar in style.
The local microclimate is very much influenced by the Dentelles. The Ouvèze terrace experiences a Mediterranean climate renowned for its contrasts of summer heat and violent Mistral winds. But with the abrupt natural wall produced by the Dentelles emerging from the plain, the Dentelles produce ascending and descending breezes which temper any extreme temperatures during the hot and dry summer. Also the west to north-west exposure of the vineyards helps to avoid the excessive summer temperatures as the cooler northerly winds blow though the valley.