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The 2007 vintage in the Southern Rhône Valley has been heralded as the finest vintage in more than three decades, and from our tastings of Dominique Ay’s outstanding 2007 Gigondas as well as the wealth of other superb 2007 red Rhône wines we have had the good fortune to sample, we heartily concur. Domaine Raspail-Ay’s sophisticated style of winemaking is in full evidence in the 2007 vintage as Ay has fashioned a powerful, complex, long-lived Gigondas that is both richly fruity and highly polished. This is a wine that can surprisingly be drunk now with great pleasure or cellared for up to ten years. Although even deeper, brighter, and more complex than the estate’s outstanding 2005 Gigondas, the 2007 manages to retain superior balance and charm as well as a sexy, seductive texture. It caresses the nose with a cornucopia of berry fruits, herbes de Provence, roses, violets, pepper, and spice. On the palate, the well-structured 2007 Domaine Raspail-Ay Gigondas is both smoothly textured and packed with flavor, and its finish continues to tantalize the tongue and haunt the senses long after the wine has reached its just reward. Dominique Ay believes his 2007 Gigondas is the finest wine he has ever made, and given this modest man’s many oenological successes over the last four decades, this says a lot. In short, Domaine Raspail-Ay’s 2007 Gigondas is not to be missed. It captures the very essence and vibrancy of Provence in a glass. Enjoy this outstanding, full-bodied Gigondas at cool room temperature (60°-65° F), alone or with a friend. Santé!
The finest red wines of the Southern Rhône (of which the 2007 Domaine Raspail-Ay Gigondas is most assuredly included) provide superb accompaniments to grilled meats, especially lamb and chicken flavored with rosemary, garlic and black pepper. With such a glorious combination of food and wine, we guarantee you will soon be picturing the rocky terrain and aromatic “garrigue” of the Southern Rhône, inhaling the scents of rosemary, lavender, and wild flowers that infuse the summer air, and feeling the refreshing shade of a hot summer’s day – Provence in a glass. What more can one ask of a wine? If you can’t make a trip to the South of France, a glass of Raspail-Ay Gigondas is most assuredly the next best thing. However, with all this talk of the dazzling landscape of Provence, let us not forget the surfeit of culinary delights that await the intrepid gastronome: dishes such as Lobster Ravioli, Roast Quail, and sumptuous Cassoulets. In addition, traditional Italian favorites, such as Lasagna, Piedmontese Risotto with sausage and wild herbs, and most dishes fashioned with fresh tomato sauce, garlic, and olive oil, marry well with Dominique Ay’s superb Gigondas, so set the table and let the good times roll. Enjoy!
Domaine Raspail-Ay is one of our favorite Rhône estates. It is easy to like Dominique Ay, the affable but serious minded proprietor of Domaine Raspail-Ay, and just as easy to be charmed by the warm, seductive Gigondas he coaxes from his 40 acre domain. Located on the terraces of the rugged Gigondas appellation, the last outcropping of the mighty alpine chain with the imposing rock formation of the Dentelles de Montmirail looming as a backdrop, this classic southern Rhône estate produces each vintage no more than 8,000 cases of a single wine – a superb Gigondas. Although rich and full-flavored, Dominique Ay’s Gigondas is made in a more sophisticated and fruit driven style of wine than what many of his neighbors favor, and it is better for it.
The Gigondas of Domaine Raspail-Ay is an artful blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 5% Mourvèdre that is always ripe, generous, and rich on the palate. One can always count on this estate to fashion a wine with a mouthful of ripe, dark fruits – black cherries, cassis, and raspberries – with notes of licorice and black pepper in the background. Curiously, the tannins of this domain’s ethereal Gigondas always appear ripe and supple, too, mellowed no doubt by a hiatus of 20 months or more in large, ancient oak foudres. In addition, Monsieur Ay ages his wine several more months in old demi-muids in his refreshingly cool chais. The result is a wine with ripe, dark fruit aromas and a supple, rich texture that belie its 14% plus alcohol content. Miraculously, the fruit lasts all the way from beginning to end, before exploding in a long, ripe, satisfying finish.
Gigondas, along with the neighboring Provençal villages of Cairanne, Vacqueyras and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, produces the finest red wines of the southern Rhône. Relying upon old vines of Grenache, married to lesser quantities of Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault, Gigondas turns out a startling array of big, beautiful, tasty reds from nearly 2,500 acres of vineyards. Spanning a combination of soils, from the gravelly clay of the flat plains at the base of the craggy Dentelles de Montmirail to the sheer bedrock of the Dentelles themselves, Gigondas is testament to the belief that in this enchanted corner of Provence known as the Vaucluse one can even extract blood from stones in the form of a vigorous, deeply colored red wine.
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