The Pesquier Gigondas is the standard-bearer of the domaine. Three-quarters of their vineyard holdings are in some of the most prized sub-regions of the appellation, including nearly 8 acres in the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains. Considered the best area for Gigondas grapes, the soils are a mix of stone and red clay.
The wine is a blend of 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 5% Mourvèdre. The grapes are harvested by hand and then undergo a long, gentle vinification with indigenous yeasts. After the grapes are slightly crushed (they now leave one cuve of whole clusters) they undergo a 3 day cold soak, followed by alcoholic fermentation, at a relatively cool 85 degrees, for 4 weeks. During this time, the wines go through a process called délestage, which replaces remontage for a better and gentler extraction. The juice is emptied from the cuve while the dry marc warms up; as it continues to ferment, polyphénols are set free. The juice is then replaced from above. Like making Italian coffee the juice infuses the must. This long process builds greater complexity in the wines and rounds out the tannins.
The wines are then moved to cement vats for about 6 months where they undergo malolactic fermentation. Finally the wines are left to rest in large casks (foudres) for 12 months and are bottled unfined and unfiltered, just before harvest.
The Domaine Pesquier Gigondas sports a beautiful ruby colour, dark and deep. This traditionally structured wine reveals itself slowly but steadily, first displaying red fruits and then notes of garrigue followed by cocoa and licorice root. The aromas are rich and layered, the palate is intense and silky, with a big body and finely-knit tannins. It represents the very best of bold, classic southern Rhône red wines.
About the Producer
This old family estate is now being run by the 4th generation, Mathieu and his sister Géraldine Boutiere. The domaine started producing wine in 1950, as well as olive oil. The vineyard was extended after the big frost of 1956, which devastated all of the olive trees. By 1971 (the year Gigondas obtained its own AOC), the estate was only producing wine. From their winery and home in Gigondas, Mathieu and his father Guy work their 24 ha of vines, producing exclusively red wines: 17ha in Gigondas, 1ha in Vacqueyras, 2ha in Côtes-du-Rhône and 4ha in Vin de Pays.
The style of Domaine du Pesquier is the paradigm of traditional Rhône wine. The spotless winery doesn’t contain a single new barrel but rather old wooden casks, “foudres,” and cement tanks. Though used at this winery for years, cement has been rediscovered by the world’s best wineries (ie Cheval Blanc) as a perfect material for developing wines because of its very steady temperature. Though traditional in approach, it does not mean that there hasn’t been change and progress at Pesquier. For instance, the wines now undergo a 3 day, pre-fermentation cold soak and the grapes are destemmed since 2001; in 2003, a new and very effective technique of delestage started to be used. In 2005, temperature control was installed in the entire winery. However beyond technique, at the end of the day, are the wines: deep, dark profound, perfectly balanced between the abundant fruit provided by well-tended Rhône varieties and the secondary aromas and flavors of garrigue, including wild thyme, lavender and an earthy minerality. The artisanal care that goes into making these wines is apparent in the finesse that balances their power: very fine tannins and long, flavorful finishes that go on forever. These are wines that speak to the very best of the southern Rhône.
Farming/vinification practices: Sustainable, close to organic. The vineyards are worked with the highest level of respect for the soil and the terroir. No herbicides or pesticides have been used since 1997.The wines are vegan.
Domaine du Pesquier