Every so often, it’s fun to drink something that you aren’t selling. My wine clubs only deal with west coast wines, yet this Kirkland Gigondas comes from the south of France in the Rhone Valley.
Hallmark, this is me with Uncorked Ventures. So all you subs can get a good look at this, which hare the lights we have which are the best we can do unfortunately. So this is Kirkland, which is Costco. This is kinda something they bottle themselves. And this is a gigondas wine. If you’re not as familiar with smaller french growing regions, I think a lot of people who drink french wine consistently (or at least like Rome wines in general) know that Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre on a red wine side are either native or have largely evolved in Southern France in a section called the Rhone Valley.
As part of the Southern Rhone Valley, there is an area called Chateaux du Pape, which has the most highly thought of, the most age-worthy, etc, etc. the most expensive growing region in Southern France is Chateaux du Pape. A lot of people in the United States, the attempt is to copy that stuff. As you might expect over time, they’re not producing any extra wine, but there are more people on the planet, so prices have gone up. So the logical thing for a lot of people to do is try to figure out kind of where that next growing region is that will remind them of Chateaux du Pape without the price point. And that’s led to some stuff like Paso Robles, kind of growth on the international wine scene. But it’s also led to some smaller fringe growing regions that remind people enough of it, or are at least close enough that the average wine drinker might say, “Hey, this is gonna be similar.”
So gigondas is definitely one of those. It’s bout 10 miles northeast of Chateaux du Pape. It carries some of the same characteristics, and as since they’ve kinda modeled their wine region after their more famous neighbors. These are grenache-based blends. It’s grenache, serrat, mourvedre blended together. Not in a DSN kind of way, but in kind of an 80% grenache, 10% the others kind of thing in most cases. So how is this similar to Chateaux du Pape, and how is it different? The most similarity comes from the soil. This section of France has a lot of wines known. It’s been kind of exposed and withered away down into larger veins deeper in the rocks over millennia. So you have a limestone-rich environment which most winemakers will tell you is kind of the ideal growing condition for wine.
Where is it different though? A lot of these are grown at altitude, so while Chateaux du Pape is largely on the valley floor, gigondas is often at some significant elevation. The ADA is actually approved up to 2600 feet, and you see a lot of vineyards planted at 1500 and 2000. That really has a dramatic effect on the wine in the glass. While the Chateaux du Pape tends to be kind of thicker, heavier, jammier kind of substances, and that sets them apart from what’s produced in much of France. His gigondas wines end up being lighter in style because it’s harder for the grapes to ripen all the way when they’re at significant altitude. That’s why you’re seeing Arizona, New Mexico, and other warmer parts of the United States that are trying to grow rind for the first time, or at least world-class wines for the first time. Attempting, “Hey, even if it’s 110 degrees over the summer, what if we go to 4,000 feet? What does that do to the end result?” The end result is it kinda calms everything down quite a bit.
So if you’re looking for a decent look for what a Chateaux du Pape might be if it was that altitude, this might be the way to do it. But just to have a good understanding, this is a solid french wine for 10 or 15 bucks, it’s just not what most people think they’re getting. So once again, Marcus, here with Uncorked Ventures, obviously not sipping for a wine-of-the-month club shipment, but I thought it was kind of an interesting wine, and I hope everybody’s doing well.