Gigondas: The wines of Domaine de Longue Toque
wines of Domaine de Longue Toque – Gigondas is as powerful as the winds that sweep its lands. It takes its name from an authentic Provencal village, made of cobbled streets and stone houses. The Saint-Côme and Saint-Damien chapel with the Sainte-Catherine church overlook the town and offer a view worthy of a painting. If you ever visit on a clear day, you might be able to see the Cevennes.
This little village with only 700 inhabitants is an absolutely essential stop for lovers of Rhone wines. In Roman times the village was called “Jocunditas” which means joy or rejoicing. Its wines were already legendary in those days.
The Gigondas “appellation d’origine” was requested as early as 1924, but was not granted until 1971.
Vineyards here cover an area of 12 km² and more than five million bottles are put on the International market each year. These wines are powerful and generous, robust and well-balanced. Despite its fame, the SAQ only list twenty references of the appellation. Its wines can be compared to Chateauneuf du Pape but with a cheaper price tag. These are great value wines from the Southern Rhone that deserves more recognition among wine drinkers
Gigondas is nicely located at the foot of a hill, nestling beneath its church which dominates all the Gigondas vineyards. The church square offers a superb panoramic view. The Dentelles de Montmirail situated in the Gigondas area act as a backdrop to the village and offer numerous walks.
Gigondas’ soils are varied and composed of alluvial terraces of stony red clay from the Kansan period, leading up to the feet of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Their high permeability lessens the erosion caused by water runoffs and means that the plots dry quickly. The soils are rich in clay and characterized by terroirs that produce grands crus. ( Source: Rhone Wines )
Domaine de Longue Toque Gigondas
Nestled at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail, the Domaine de Longue Toque dates from 1918. The domaine is part of Gabriel Meffre collection of wine domaines in the Rhone. Meffre holdings in the Rhone comprise 27ha in the AOP Gigondas (18ha), Vacqueyras (7ha) and Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu (2ha).
Domaine de Longue Toque grows traditional Rhone varieties such as (Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvèdre). The terroir consist of a mix of different soil types such as: of clay, sand, marl and limestone from the Oligocene period. .
The estate is conducted according to the principles of sustainable viticulture – Terra Vitis label since 2001.
Recently, I had a chance to meet Guillaume Blisson, export director of Gabriel Meffre at the office of its Quebec importer, Elixirs Vins et Spiritueux. I had a chance to taste five vintages of the domaine ( 2014 to 2003).
The 2014 currently available at the SAQ ( $42, #13470589) is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. The wine displays a deep complexity on the nose. There are fine notes of tanned leather with tar and fish sauce. With time in the glass, the wine shows its fruit side reminiscent of wild red berries. On the palate, it is powerful and structured with very fine tannins. A long and persistent finale that brings to mind menthol and eucalyptus. Buy a few bottles and keep it in your cellar for the next 15 years.
The 2013 an equal blend of Grenache and Syrah was fabulous as well. More opulent than the 2014 yet very fresh and elegant. Delicious aromas of red berries with a herbal edge that brings to mind peppermint leaf. On the palate, powerful with chunky tannins complemented by a finale reminiscent of liquorice, tobacco and church incense. If you have some in your cellar, hold it for another 10 years.
On the other hand, the 2010 was more about finesse than power. An equal blend of Grenache and Syrah as well, it displayed a nice core of ripe cassis with violets. Lovely palate: Elegance with polished tannins with a silky finale that reminded me of garrigue ( low-growing vegetation from limestone hills of the Mediterranean). Drinking well now, but you could hold it for another few more years.
My favourite vintage of the tasting was the 2008. A mature Gigondas that displayed bright notes of violets with confit black fruit, cracked black peppercorns complemented by horse saddle nuances. Very harmonious with a generous finale. Drink now but it has more mileage for further development.
Finally the 2003 vintage was fully mature and it started its decline. Pleasant bouquet of mahogany wood with prunes and tobacco pipe. On the palate, it displayed tertiary notes of autumn leaves and black truffles but slightly oxidized. Drink now.