96 pts. This shows the greatness that Gigondas is capable of. A huge wine, but with great structure and aromatic complexity that takes your breath away. Big black fruit, but so many herbal and savory nuances, then comes the long, smoky and meaty finish. Excellent aging potential. A blend of 80% grenache, 8% syrah, 7% cinsault and 5% clairette.
95-96. Enormously deep and powerful, but the full and fine tannins hold this mighty ship on course straight into the sunset. Great forest-berry aromas, but at the finish the wild-herb character expands and expands. Excellent aging potential! A blend of 80% grenache, 8% syrah, 7% cinsault and 5% clairette.
92-94+. More black currants, blueberries, peppery garrigue, licorice and mineral notes define the 2019 Gigondas Les Racines and it’s another beautifully rich, layered, textured barrel sample from this estate that’s going to benefit from short term cellaring.
92+. Slightly deeper and richer, with a more backward style, the 2018 Gigondas Les Racines reveals a deeper ruby/plum color as well as terrific notes of ripe black cherries, roasted garrigue, scorched earth, and ground pepper. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and concentrated, with plenty of underlying structure, it’s a terrific 2018 that’s going to benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age and drink brilliantly over the following decade or more.
90-92+. The 2018 Gigondas Les Racines comes from older vines and slightly deeper, more north-facing parcels around the estate. It offers darker notes of blackcurrants earth, ground pepper, truffle, and leafy herbs as well as a more concentrated, tannic style on the palate.
91-92. From very old vines (70-100 years old). There is a strong, red-fruit focus here with a sappy and very plush feel to the palate. Succulent, fleshy and mellow and a very suave, open-knit and ripe-grenache finish. A blend of 85% grenache and 15% cinsault and syrah co-planted. Drink over the first decade.
95-97. The precise blend for this cuvée hadn’t been finalized at the time of my visit, so the sample I tasted of 2018 Gigondas Les Racines was an approximation put together by the team at the estate. Marked by accents of blodd orange and citrus zest, the raspberry fruit at the core of this wine is concentrated and ripe. Full-bodied and rich, yet silky, fine and elegant, it’s a classic representation of this microclimate and its 75-year-old Grenache vines.
On est en présence aussi d’un bel exemple de millésime qui met en exergue des différences notables existant entre Terrasse du Diable et Racines. Le nez de réglisse noir est déjà poli, charnel, rond et ce côté charnu ne nous quittera pas jusqu’à la fin de la dégustation ; la bouche est onctueuse, les aromes sont ceux de fruits très murs, c’est complexe et profond ; les tanins sont équilibrés, presque poudreux et aériens. En fin de bouche la sensation de réglisse revient, c’est charnu, velouté, fin et légèrement mentholé. Un très beau et classique millésime de Racines.
The domaine’s oldest vines and 80% Grenache in the blend are the fundamentals of Racines. Of the two Les Pallières bottlings, this is the one that typically is open younger in its life. The tannins are soft, and the fruit is pure and elegant. Underlying that, though, is something dark and profound – a savory character reminiscent of a tapenade. Don’t count it out as a candidate for your cellar.
95. Aromas of cassis, garrigue and redcurrants and wild raspberries. Grenache drives the palate in a long, linear and very focused style. Dense, but delicate, with a fresh and juicy, raspberry-pastry finish. The vines are 80+ years old. Striking power and focus. Drink or hold.
92-94. More blackcurrants, black cherries, earth, and leafy, peppery herb aromas emerge from the 2017 Gigondas Les Racines, which is more closed and backward yet has plenty of depth and concentration. It needs 4-5 years of bottle age.
93-95. Despite being riper and more concetrated than the Terrasse du Diable bottling, the 2017 Gigondas Les Racines shares a similarly edgy structure. Potent raspberry fruit is delivered on a full-bodied, richly textured palate that finishes crisp and a bit jagged. Give it a couple of years in the cellar, and it should be fine for drinking over the next 10 years.
**** (large barrel, bottling June 2019) steady red robe; the nose is aromatic, nicely wide and quietly persistent, floral, gracious, comes with snippets of licorice, sparks of menthol, smokiness. The palate has a broad debut, good heart, fills the palate with some silk in the texture, develops pebbly tannins, with a chewy aspect on them. It is more complete, profound than the Terrasses 2017, the length assured. It can make progress quietly, gradually. The tannins remind me a bit of 2013, though it’s more elegant than 2013. Good local ID here; take your time with it. 14.8°.
From 2022. 2040-43
94-95. Brambly, red fruit in this grenache-driven Gigondas (80 per cent) and there are wild herbs, dried roses and some elegant, lighter notes. Pastry-like tannins. Fluid and plush. Dense but delicate. Raspberry pastry finish. Fresh and juicy. At 250m altitude, this is lower than the Diable plot. The vines are 80+ years old. Barrel sample.
(93-95). The prospective blend of the 2017 Gigondas Les Racines is 80% Grenache, 10% Cinsault and 10% Syrah. Full-bodied and velvety, it offers black cherry and black raspberry flavors tinged with orange zest. It’s bright and fresh despite the dark fruit, with soft tannins on the lingering finish.
96. Very complete and complex wine that has intensity and elegance. Raspberry and rose-like perfume, this has a long, red-fruit core with dark spices wrapped deep into the heart of the palate. Detailed texture, the noble, long tannins cloaked in wild, red plums and berries. Terrific freshness here. Wow. Drink or hold.
(94-96). The 2016 Gigondas Les Racines was in its foudres at the time of my visit, but I still think it is the equal of the Brunier family’s Châteauneufs. Full-bodied and rich but silky and almost lacy in texture, it marries raspberries and apricots with lovely herbal nuances and a lingering finish. It’s a tremendous Gigondas, made from 75-year-old vines (80% Grenache).
It’s juicier in feel [than Terrasse du Diable], with more succulent cherry, plum and blackberry fruit that gets an energetic kick of anise at the end. Both are lovely wines
(92-94). Deep ruby. Highly fragrant, smoke-tinged aromas of fresh dark fruits, incense and potpourri are sharpened by a spicy pepper note. Fleshy and broad but energetic as well, offering bitter cherry, black raspberry and floral pastille flavors that turn sweeter on the back half. Finishes sweet, broad and very long, displaying firm, spicy puch and dusty tannins that come in late.
DOMAINE LES PALLIERES LES RACINES 2016 ****(*)
(large barrel, bottling June 2018) full, dark red. The nose is striking – raspberry liqueur, vibrant fruit, geranium, spicing. There is a good garrigue presence on the palate, with a hum of intensity; it builds as it goes, straightens just before the close. There is a lot of wine here; it’s complex. The flavour centres on warm red berry fruits, thickly delivered but fluid. It shows especially well on the second half, and the close is nice and rocky.
From 2022. 2038-41 Oct 2017
17. Meaty nose with gorgeously succulent bramble fruits on the palate and an earthy undergrowth complexity that is really charming and open-knit. Precocious and delicious for drinking now, with all the heartiness and generosity of great Grenache.
(93 – 95). The Domaine Les Pallieres 2016 Gigondas Les Racines is full-bodied and lush, awash in cherry fruit, and seemingly even more supple, concentrated and long than the Terrasse de Diable. It has the stuffing to drink well for up to two decades
93-95. The 2016 Gigondas Racines comes from older vines around the estate and is a bigger, richer, more mouth-filling beauty. Currants, roasted herbs, charcoal and garrigue aromas all emerge from this decadent, opulent beauty that has ripe tannin and a big finish. It too will benefit from short-term cellaring.
92. Still youthfully tight, with singed alder and dried lavender notes framing a coiled core of cassis, damson plum and bitter cherry fruit. The long sanguine- and mineral-edged finish will need some time to unwind fully. Best from 2019 through 2027. 2,800 cases made.
91. I preferred the Domaine Les Pallieres 2015 Gigondas Les Racines, which comes from 75-year-old vines (80% Grenache) at lower elevation. There’s a sassafras-like spice note to this wine, along with ripe cherries and hints of clove and allspice. Like the Terrasse de Diable, it’s full-bodied and silky in texture, but the Racines seems to carry its alcohol better. Both of these Gigondas are matured exclusively in 60hectoliter foudres, so there’s no obvious oak influence.
94+. Cut from the same cloth, the 2015 Gigondas Racines offers darker fruits, as well as more minerality, yet is slightly closed and needs 2-3 years of bottle age. Garrigue, black cherries, currants, scorched earth, and licorice all flow to a full-bodied Gigondas that has ripe tannin and terrific length. It’s a classic beauty well worth your time and money.
(91-93). The 2015 Gigondas les Racines looks to be slightly superior to the Terrasses du Diable at this point and has a more minerality, dark fruit and garrigue in a medium to full-bodied, concentrated, even backwards style. It has depth and length, and will benefit from a few years in bottle
92. The 2014 Gigondas les Racines is truly gorgeous, and a serious wine in a difficult vintage for the appellation. From yields of 25 hectoliters per hectare, it has beautiful notes of black cherries, blackberries, hints of pepper and bouquet garni in a medium-bodied, ultra-fine, ultra-pure style. It’s a hidden little gem that will keep for a decade.
(90-92) : Bright ruby. Spicy and energetic on the nose, displaying intense red and dark berry scents and suggestions of candied flowers and garrigue. Spicy, tightly focused raspberry and bitter cherry flavors deepen and spread out slowly, picking up a subtle licorice nuance. Shows very good energy and mineral-driven thrust on the clinging finish, which is framed by dusty, harmonious tannins.
95 (96) /100. Powerful smelling with prune, demi-glace, charred beef ribs and some lavender-like aromatics. Concentrated, but still fresh smelling. As it is in the mouth with pomegranate-+rose hip edginess and incredible fruit length and depth. Tight and chewy, and ideally needs another five years to show its best.
15.5-16.5 / 20. Issue de vignes de 60 ans et plus, cette cuvée tournée vers le nord est située au lieu-dit Les Pallières. Elle offre un nez délicatement épicé et un fruit très pur. La bouche retranscrit cette sensation dans une matière fine mais intense avec des tanins solides mais élégants et enrobés par un beau fruit. Cet ensemble demandera un peu de temps pour se patiner totalement.
92 : Vivid ruby. Spice-and smoke-accented red berries on the highly perfumed nose, complicated by a touch of candied flowers. Palate-staining bitter cherry and black raspberry flavors gain energy and life from an undertone of juicy minerality. The floral quality repeats on the penetrating finish, which is shaped by silky, harmonious tannins.
(89-92). Deeper and richer that the Terrasse du Diable? Has impressive minerality in its dark fruits, pepper and garrigue aromas and flavors. Medium to full-bodied, ripe and nicely concentrated, it’s a smoking 2013 that will drink well for a decade.
90. The core flavors of plum, fig paste and blackberry confiture cruise along, lined with charcoal and warm stone notes. Shows persistent grip on the finish. Best from 2015 through 2020
91. In the same ballpark quality-wise (as Les Terrasses du Diable), it has a darker slant to its fruit and gives up plenty of currants, licorice, bouquet garni and chocolate, as well as serious minerality. Medium to full-bodied, elegant and seamless, I actually like the mid-palate on the Terrasses du Diable more, but the tannin quality here is more polished and sweeter. Give this another 2-3 years in the cellar and drink it through 2024
Magnifique vignoble de Gigondas situé en terrasses sous les dentelles. Le vin s\’exprime dans un style profond, structuré et sans lourdeur. Offre un grain splendide et un fruit d\’une grande douceur
Brilliant ruby. Lively red fruit and floral scents are complicated by suggestions of smoky minerals and potpourri. Spicy, penetrating and pure, offering gently sweet raspberry and lavender pastille flavors and a subtle touch of blood orange. Closes smooth and long, with a whisper of tannins and strong mineral cut. This wine is a poster child for the blend of power and elegance that marks a great Gigondas. 92
Vivid ruby. Pungent, high-pitched aromas of cherry, black raspberry, lavender and cracked pepper, with a bright mineral topnote. Spicy and incisive, with lively red berry and bitter cherry flavors. Silky tannins add grip to a persistent, spice- and floral-accented finish. 90- 92
Cité dans \’les grandes réussites\’ de Gigondas
Mélange de poivre frais et de fruit compté au nez ; bouche serrée, concentrée. L’alcool est présent, mais la construction semble pouvoir le supporter.
16-17 / 20. Nez épicé, sur la résine, voire le végétal noble. Cela sent la cerise à l’eau-de-vie. Le fruit est pur, la bouche rectiligne mais pas dure, tout à fait dans le style du domaine. Ce Gigondas présente un côté salin presque rocailleux. Très étiré, il exprime à merveille le caractère des vins du versant nord de l’appellation.
($49) Vivid ruby. A pungent bouquet displays scents of blackcurrant, candied cherry, licorice, tobacco and smoky herbs. Supple and pliant, offering sharply focused dark berry and cherry compote flavors, silky tannins and a sexy floral quality. Smoothly combines richness and vivacity and finishes with outstanding cut. 93
Cité dans \’les grandes réussites\’ de Gigondas
Le nez complexe mêle chocolat, agrumes et minéral. L\’ensemble est homogène et très salin.
More dramatic, denser and richer, the 2010 Gigondas Les Racines offers up floral, red and black currant, raspberry and garrigue aromas as well as notions of wet rocks (which I associate with underlying minerality). It possesses a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel as well as surprising depth and length. The tannins are sweet, but the acidity gives the wine a zesty mouthfeel. Give it 2-3 years of cellaring and drink it over the following 10-15 years.
93-95; Bright ruby. Fresh red fruit and garrigue on the intensely perfumed, complex nose. The palate offers silky bitter cherry, raspberry and licorice flavors complicated by fresh bay and dried lavender. Really an essence of Provence! Closes on a spicy note, with lingering sweetness and a touch of smoky herbs. An essence of Gigondas.
slightly darker in colour than the Terrasse du Diable cuvée. This is sourced from the oldest vines (average 60 years) on the property and is a blend of 80 per cent grenache, 15 per cent syrah and five per cent clairette. The nose has brambly fruit, some red and darker purple fruits here, with a lilting delicate fragrant lift, really soulful. The palate has immense concentration, a lithe, muscular shape and richness that flows effortlessly. Good poise and length, sturdy for a Gigondas and also one to age.
Coming from 70-year-old vines on the more drought resistant lower slopes (where there is more clay in the soil) is the 2009 Gigondas Les Racines. Slightly better, with more color, this blend of 80% Grenache and the rest Cinsault and Syrah reveals more complexity in a savage, animal-like manner. Hints of mint, strawberry liqueur, tree bark, porcini mushrooms and kirsch emerge from this complex, concentrated Gigondas. Drink it over the next decade.
Now that partners Daniel Brunier and Kermit Lynch have gotten a full grasp of this complicated, cool climate terroir, Les Pallières quality has soared.
Deep ruby-hued. Offers a perfumed bouquet of crushed rocks, raspberries, black cherries, currants and hints of garrigue as well as spice box. Velvety-textured, opulent and long, with stunning purity and equilibrium, it should well for 10-15 years.
Ruby with quite an aged rim. Already smells quite mature! Almost as though it had some 2008 in it. Very sweet and mellow and charming. I really don’t know what explains this fast-forward wine but it has good richness and freshness with the merest suggestion of fine tannins. Strange but satisfying for early drinking.
91-93. Ruby-red. Spicy red berries and dried flowers on the nose, with suggestions of anise and underbrush adding complexity. Nervy, precise redcurrant and wild strawberry flavors show an attractive touch of sweetness and good peppery lift. Bracingly brisk on the very persistent finish, which repeats the redcurrant note and shows a refreshingly bitter rhubarb quality. Made from a blend of 80% grenache, 15% co-planted syrah and cinsault and 5% clairette.
Now that partners Daniel Brunier and Kermit Lynch have gotten a full grasp of this complicated, cool climate terroir, Les Pallières quality has soared.
Reveals more minerality [compare to Terrasse du Diable], garrigue, raspberry and strawberry fruit, it is a mid-weight , elegant wine that represents one of the finest Gigondas made in this difficult vintage.
88. This shows a more mature profile, with mesquite, mulled plum and fig bread notes laced with a streak of lightly roasted cedar. The minerally finish lingers with a plum skin note. Drink now through 2012. 1800cs made
89; ($36) Vivid red. Redcurrant, cherry and garrigue on the nose. Taut and sharply focused but a bit ungiving. Gains flesh and sweetness with air and finishes with good clarity and spicy cut. I like this wine\’s vivacity.
Bright red. Smoky red berries, flowers and minerals on the nose. A sweet, energetic midweight that offers redcurrant and cherry flavors and a tangy note of blood orange. A bit ungiving on the finish, which repeats the cherry note and lingers with very good persistence. 89- 91
Wine of the Week: 2007 Domaine les Pallières Gigondas \’Les Racines\’
The sun-bleached landscape of Gigondas in France\’s southern Rhone has always been one of my favorite haunts. I love the wines too, especially the Gigondas from the venerable Domaine les Pallières. But when Frédéric and Daniel Brunier of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape property Vieux Télégraphe and wine importer Kermit Lynch took over the estate in 1998, under the guidance of these Rhone experts the estate\’s wines went up a notch or two.
Made from the oldest vines on the estate, the 2007 bottling \ »Les Racines\ » is dense and inky, with a powerful perfume of wild herbs and berries that leads you back to the glass again and again. Each sip reveals something new — a hint of licorice, the taste of raspberries or black cherries. Yet for all its power, this blend of Grenache with a small proportion of Syrah, Cinsault and Clairette is remarkably supple and lush. Drink it with rich, juicy grilled meats, spicy barbecued ribs, a classic beef daube or duck breast.
If you can\’t find \ »Les Racines,\ » look for the other cuvée \ »Les Terrasse du Diable,\ » which may be more available. Either one is terrific.
The 2007 Pallières Les Racines qualifies as a great wine. In fact,I think it is safe to say that the 2007 Les Racines qualifies as a living wine, a wine you can approach the way you might approach another human being. Clarity and ambiguity rarely appear side by side in the same wine. They coexist in the 2007 Les Racines. If you do not taste this wine – this year, in five years, and in then years – you will be cheating yourself. \ »Les Racines\ » means \ »the roots\ ». When you drink the 2007 Les Racines, you nourish your soul in the same way that a root nourishes its vine. […] The wine overwhelms you with its depth, then it teases you with the twin promises of love and beauty. When the wine delivers on those promises, you surrender to its generosity. The finish tells ou a story. In the story, you are connected to other people by a line that has no name. […] The story has no ending. It fades into the sunset, only to reappear as a star in the sky. […]
Ruby-red. Ripe dark berries and kirsch on the nose, with complicating notes of licorice and black tea. Rich, deep and powerful, with a distinctly ripe character to the dark fruit flavors. Fresher on the finish, which features chewy tannins and leaves smoke and licorice notes behind. This is a bit inscrutable today, hiding more than it\’s showing. 89( ?)
16/20. Un nez riche et profond, raisins sultanines, épices douces et d’oranges confites. En bouche, il est encore très jeune, mais on sent déjà le potentiel de ce beau vin savoureux et plein de caractère aux tanins tendus, mais racés.
91-94 Saturated ruby. Youthfully vibrant dark berry aromas are complemented by suave garrigue and floral nuances. Sappy blackberry and kirsch flavors are firmed by fine-grained tannins and lifted by zesty minerals. Floral and Asian spice notes carry through a long, juicy finish. This is really promising.
Tender, red jam nose,floral and pure. Charming, long easy-fruit palate and depth.Tannin to the end. 2011-2020
Even better is the 2007 Gigondas Les Racines Vieilles Vignes. Its dense ruby/purple hue is accompanied by an extraordinary bouquet of black raspberries, kirsch, licorice, crushed rocks, and flowers. Full-bodied with sensational texture, purity, and length as well as remarkable elegance and freshness, this stunning Gigondas can be enjoyed over the next 15-20 years. Bravo!
Partners Daniel Brunier and Kermit Lynch impeccably run this estate. I should also give a nod to Kermit Lynch’s latest musical endeavor, his brilliant CD called Man’s Temptation, which I highly recommend (particularly the song Gare de Lyon). Les Pallieres’ 2008s are two of the finest Gigondas I tasted in what is a very mediocre vintage for that appellation.