2020 La Bouissiere Cotes du Rhone Blanc
In the sultry south, altitude matters. Wines from Domaine la Bouïssiere hail from some of the highest vineyards in Gigondas, and thus are markedly more balanced, elegant and age-worthy than wines from the lowlands.
In the 1960s, Antonin Faravel began to carve his vineyards out of the crumbling stone cliffs of the Dentelles de Montmirail (pictured on the family’s wine labels). He knew that the cooler temperatures and rocky soils would produce perfectly ripe grapes, with better acidic balance and lower alcohol, too. While other winemakers quickly followed Antonin’s lead, Domaine la Bouïssiere without question is the original, high-altitude Gigondas.
Yet it certainly takes more than a mountain to make a world-class red. Antonin’s sons, winemakers Thierry and Giles Faravel, border on the fanatical when it comes to the health of their vines and grapes. Theirs are wines that are intimately tied to and faithfully reflect the rugged, sensual beauty of the Provençal landscape from which they’re born.
They bottle a stunning Clairette Blanche, labeled simply as Côtes du Rhône Blanc but with the 2022 vintage has been elevated to a “Gigondas Blanc.” Of all the various incarnations of this unsung white hero, throughout Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Bandol, Cassis, and Château Simone’s Pallette, this bottling from Bouïssiere may be the finest expression I've encountered yet.
VINEYARDS: Estate vineyards are located just outside the Gigondas appellation, at altitude. Soils mix sand and “safres,” a compacted sand, that is more often seen in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
AGE OF VINES: 50 years, on average
WINEMAKING: Hand-harvested. Pressed full-cluster; fermented on indigenous yeasts in older French oak barrels. Aged in barrel for 12 months.
Aromas of citrus, white fruits, light herbs, citrus zest, crushed stones. Medium-bodied, silky. A rare and wonderful white wine, pure Clairette from Gigondas sandy soils. Here they give this white a delicate silkiness, and flavors rich in citrus zest and wildflowers.
France, Rhone, Gigondas
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