Raspail-Ay has again in the superlative 2019 vintage fashioned one of the greatest wines of the Gigondas appellation. The 2019 Domaine Raspail-Ay Gigondas (70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre) captures the Ay family’s consummate craftsmanship, balancing elegance and texture with power and depth of flavor. The 2019 Raspail Ay Gigondas is aromatic, textured, and bold in flavor, all while keeping its equilibrium. One would never know it tops out at 15% alcohol. Savory scents and flavors of black raspberry, kirsch, and garrigue mingle with exotic spices and subtle hints of violet and rose to deliver a complex, intriguing, and thoroughly captivating Gigondas, and unabashedly one of the Rhône’s finest wines. The wine’s ripe tannins make their appearance, too, to frame the wine’s delightful mélange of flavors and deliver a vibrant finish, which is certain to assure a long, happy life and a decade or more of drinking pleasure. For optimal enjoyment, afford the superb 2019 Raspail-Ay Gigondas at least 20-30 minutes of aeration before consuming it at cool room temperature (58°-60° F). Anticipated maturity: 2022-2030. Enjoy!
Another outstanding effort from Raspail-Ay, the 2019 Domaine Raspail-Ay Gigondas consistently provides the ideal accompaniment to all kinds of grilled meats, especially lamb and chicken when served Provençal style with rosemary, thyme, garlic and black pepper. Almost anything with tomato works well with Gigondas, too. A glass of Raspail-Ay’s Gigondas with such pairings evokes fond memories of Provence and the sleepy village of Gigondas with its rocky terrain and aromatic “garrigue,” where one inhales the intoxicating scents of rosemary, lavender, flowers, and wild herbs, which infuse the crystalline summer air. Yes, in a glass of 2019 Raspail-Ay Gigondas one can be transported and taste Provence. Lobster ravioli, duck breast, roast quail, and thick sausage and bean laden cassoulets provide other superb accompaniments to Dominique Ay’s outstanding Gigondas. 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 pair handsomely with Raspail-Ay’s superb Gigondas, too. And if none of the previous pairings appeal to you, consider serving the 2019 Raspail-Ay Gigondas with another Provençal favorite, gourmet pizza, a traditional Provençal staple that the locals claim as their own. Bon Appétit!
Dominque Ay is the consummate producer of Gigondas. We first met Dominique Ay at his rustic domain on a sun-drenched Provençal day more than a quarter of a century ago, and we have been a fan of his brilliant Gigondas ever since. In the last several years, Dominque’s son Christophe and daughter Anne-Sophie have joined with Dominque to fashion truly world-class Gigondas. Not surprisingly, Robert Parker, Jr, and a coterie of wine writers and critics have 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 even easier 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 in 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 Grenache, Syrah, and 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 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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