“Can you top this” seems to be Raspail-Ay’s mantra, as this superb property continues to set the bar ever higher. Just when we thought they had reached their pinnacle in 2015, the recently released 2016 Raspail-Ay Gigondas provides ample evidence to question that assumption, garnering 95 points from Decanter, 95 points from Vinous, and 94 points from Wine Advocate. The 2016 Domaine Raspail-Ay Gigondas not only captures the greatness of the vintage, it also reflects the Ay family’s consummate craftsmanship. The 2016 Raspail Ay Gigondas is more aromatic than usual and profoundly bold in color, flavor, and intensity, yet balanced and vivacious. Rich fruit redolent with the savory scents and flavors of black raspberry, kirsch, and garrigue mingle with exotic spices and subtle hints of violet and rose to deliver both complexity and intrigue. Ripe, rich tannins emerge, too, to frame this beautifully balanced Gigondas and provide vibrancy, which should assure a long, happy life and a decade or more of drinking pleasure. Afford this classic Rhône gem at least 30 minutes of aeration before enjoying it at cool room temperature (58°-60° F). Enjoy!
Domaine Raspail-Ay’s outstanding 2016 Gigondas provides the ideal accompaniment to all kinds of grilled meats, especially lamb and chicken flavored with rosemary, thyme, garlic and black pepper. A glass of Raspail-Ay’s Gigondas with such pairings evokes fond memories of Provence and Gigondas in particular with its rocky terrain and aromatic “garrigue,” where one inhales the intoxicating scents of rosemary, lavender, flowers, and wild herbs that infuse the crystalline summer air. In a glass of 2016 Raspail-Ay Gigondas one can almost taste Provence. Lobster ravioli, roast quail, and thick sausage and bean laden cassoulets provide other superb accompaniments to Dominique Ay’s wine. Cheese and meat lasagna; risotto with sausage and wild herbs; rich pasta dishes made with fresh tomato sauce, garlic and olive oil; and smoked meats and cheeses also pair handsomely with Raspail-Ay’s superb Gigondas. And if none of the previous pairings appeal to you, consider serving the 2016 Raspail-Ay Gigondas with the best gourmet pizza or cheeses money can buy. Bon Appétit!
We first met Dominique Ay at his rustic domain on a sun-drenched Provençal day nearly a quarter of a century ago, and we have been a fan of his brilliant Gigondas ever since. On our last visit, Dominque’s son Christophe and daughter Anne-Sophie now work with Dominque. Not surprisingly, Robert Parker, Jr. and a coterie of wine writers and critics subsequently discovered the Gigondas of Raspail-Ay and constantly sing its praises. It is easy to like Dominique Ay, the serious minded proprietor of Domaine Raspail-Ay, and it is just as easy to be charmed by the warm, seductive Gigondas he coaxes from his 46-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 6,000 cases of a single superb Gigondas and a tiny quantity of rosé. Although rich and full-flavored, Dominique Ay’s Gigondas also displays elegance and sophistication, elements often missing in the wines of many of his neighbors, and Raspail-Ay’s Gigondas 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 tasty notes of licorice and black pepper playing 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 oak foudres. In addition, Dominique Ay ages his Gigondas several more months in old demi-muids in his refreshingly cool chais. The result is a wine that exhibits ripe, dark fruit aromas and a supple, rich texture that belie its 15% plus alcohol content. Miraculously, the fruit in the wine lasts all the way from beginning to end, before exploding in a long, ripe, satisfying finish.
Gigondas and the neighboring Provençal villages of Cairanne, Vacqueyras and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, produce 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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