Thierry and Gilles Faravel's Domaine la Bouïssière in Gigondas is exceptional in many ways, but perhaps apart from the personality of Thierry himself, it is the site of the vineyard, high up under the 'Dentelles de Montmirail' which makes the defining difference.
In contrast to the vines being baked on the plains of stones at the foot of the hill, the Bouïssière vines benefit from cooling air at night falling from the high peaks, and the wines retain a freshness and subtle persistence which is very different to the sometimes bludgeoning broadness and alcoholic heat of the wines on the plain.
Gilles and Thierry Faravel employ non-interventionalist practices to make wines as naturally as possible, resulting in wines of immense concentration and depth, with true vibrancy and the capacity to age ten to fifteen years.
They've come back to 80% whole bunch fermentation - as Thierry says, it's their form of acidity, it gives the wines more energy and tension, and stops them getting too heavy.
From some of the highest vineyards in Gigondas. Most of the Faravel family’s Gigondas vines are located in a high-altitude, narrow valley between the Dentelles de Montmirail, a row of steep granite cliffs west of Mont Ventoux. Top soils are thin and very rocky; sub-soils are solid rock. (These vineyards are so steep that the Faravels have to use a tractor with caterpillar treads to get up and down.) Vines are cared for according to organic principles as each vintage allows. The oldest vines are between 60 and 70 years old.
74% Grenache and 26% Syrah. Harvest is performed by hand, and grapes are partially destemmed and lightly crushed, depending on the vintage. Fermentation on indigenous yeasts takes place in unlined cement tanks or stainless steel tanks; wines age in a combination of tank, larger foudre and barrique. Wines are bottled by gravity and are unfined and unfiltered.
Limpid ruby. Pungent red and dark berry and floral scents, along with suggestions of liquorice, cola, olive and smoky minerals. Youthfully taut bitter cherry and black raspberry flavours show very good depth and a sharp, spicy jolt of cracked pepper on the back half. Fine-grained tannins build steadily on a long, penetrating finish that leaves dark chocolate and candied lavender notes behind.