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The 1977 Font-Sane Gigondas is a beautiful example of Gigondas; it displays an intense, smokey nose, entwined with Provencal herbs. It also sports the typical pure, bold fruit for which Font-Sane is justly renowned. Due no doubt to the scrupulous handling of the harvest and careful vinification at this estate. Font-Sane combines great flavor with finesse, smoothness, profound fruit and depth of color, and uncommon length in the mouth, all in equal measure. Big and beautiful, but eminently balanced, the 1997 Font-Sane can easily be engaged now with an hour’s breathing time, or left to rest quietly in a cool cellar to accrue further complexity and subtlety.
Although some have called Gigondas the perfect wine for a cold winter’s night, it is equally pleasurable in the middle of summer when heat and humidity tend to rob lesser wines of their charm and character. Served slightly cool (cellar temperature; about 55-60 F) the Font-Sane Gigondas is a great partner to steaks, ribs and a myriad of highly flavored onion and garlic-laced bean dishes. Sausages, cassoulet and traditional Provencal dishes containing tomatoes, herbs, garlic, and olive oil all make exemplary accompaniments to the Font-Sane Gigondas. A rotisserie grilled chicken with butter, garlic and herbs is another savory treat with Madam Peysson-Cunty’s lovely wine.
Domaine de Font-Sane is one of the most charming and rewarding stops in the lovely Provence village of Gigondas, due in no small part to the enormous talent and gracious manner of the Veronique Peysson-Cunty, the third generation of women to make wine at this outstanding Gigondas estate. Whether she is discussing the relative merits or deficiencies of a particular vintage, or the effects of the terroir on her critically acclaimed Gigondas, Veronique Peysson-Cunty is both refreshingly honest and thoroughly captivating. Slim, but ebullient, her sparse frame mirrors the lean landscape of her native Gigondas, a paysage that by all accounts can hardly be described as corpulent. Yet, it bursts with life; the song of the cicadas, the power of the wind - the mighty mistral - and the illumination of a special landscape by the purest of light that throbs like a pulse. In many respects the story at Domaine de Font-Sane is not unusual in the southern Rhone Valley; the family has cultivated vines in the village for generations but always sold all or most of their wine in bulk to negotiants until Veronique’s father, Gilbert, decided to estate bottle wine at the Domaine. For many generations, Gigondas was the preferred "bonesetter" (purchased wine used to doctor and improve leaner, more famous wines) for expensive estate bottled Burgundies. It should come as no surprise then that as Gigondas gained acclaim in the 1960's and 1970's, and began bottling its own wine, the quality of many "great" Burgundies slipped as the supply of Gigondas dried up. What has become Burgundy’s loss and shameful legacy exposed, is presently our gain. Madame Peysson-Cunty has taken this domaine to new heights. Font-Sane is a typically small estate, comprising about 35 acres (25 of which are in Gigondas, the remainder in nearby Cotes de Vintaux. All the parcels used for the Gigondas are in sight of this small winery where the view of the rugged Dentelles de Montmirail is nothing short of spectacular. The Dentelles de Montmirail is the splendid outcropping of rock and heather that constitutes the final vestiges of the Alps as they descend into the fecund Vaucluse plain. The average age of the vines at Font-Sane are nearly 40 years old, with the youngest 20 year old vines planted hundreds of meters up the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail, with important parcels of 50 year old vines on the middle slopes, and a small plot of 100 year old vines adjacent to the house and cellars on more level ground. In blind tastings among the growers of Gigondas, Font-Sane is often chosen as the best of the appellation. Her male counterparts contend that her wine exhibits a certain feminine charm which is both easily identifiable and immediately ingratiating because it provides a counterpoint to the typically more rustic, macho wines of the Gigondas appellation. In a wine that is known for its power and vigor, she has infused a soul. Font-Sane combines great finesse, smoothness and length in the mouth along with power and depth of color and flavor. Veronique contends that her wine is merely the result of her desire to produce balanced wines that check the often aggressive tannins of other Gigondas. Clearly, she has succeeded in imbuing her powerful, virile Gigondas with a healthy, feminine side.
Gigondas: A Sleepy Little Town with a Very Big, Robust Wine Gigondas, along with neighboring Vacqueyras and Chateauneuf-du-Pape, produces the finest red wine of the southern Rhone. Relying upon old vines Grenache, married to lesser quantities of Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault, Gigondas turns out a startling array of hearty, robust wines from nearly 2,500 acres of vines. Spanning a combination of soils, from the gravely clay of the flat, plains at the base of the craggy Dentelles de Montmirail, to the sheer bedrock of the Dentelles itself, Gigondas is testament to the belief that in this enchanted land one can even extract blood from stones, in the form of deeply colored Gigondas. Elevated to its own appellation in 1971, rather than remaining just one of many Cotes du Rhone villages, Gigondas quickly made a name for itself. The village of Gigondas remains one of the prettiest, least spoiled of the sleepy villages in this corner of Provence, but the wine that bears its name has taken the wine world by storm. Capturing the palate of critics and restaurant cognoscenti alike, Gigondas is highly sought after in fine wine shops and is increasingly well represented on restaurant wine lists that cater to the world’s "bon vivants". This is due in no small part to the hedonistic personality filled character of Gigondas, a wine that renowned wine critic, Robert Parker, Jr. has called "a hearty, ... wine for a cold winter’s night... Its appeal is its robust, frank, generous, extroverted character, in addition to its value. It is to be savored and admired because of these virtues". Show us a wine with the supreme virtues of power, personality and passion, and we’ll show you a Gigondas. A votre sante.
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