2003 Clos du Roi - Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Red Blend •Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC
France: Rhône Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: The Pope’s New Castle
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Visit the Southern Rhône to find an Old-World CDP
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: 2003 Clos du Roi Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Wine Subject: Château Gigognan
Winemaker: M. Jean Roure
Châteauneuf-du-Pape (CDP) is among this spy’s favorite Rhone wines. With each wine being a distinct blend of up to 13 different varietals (usually lead off with Grenache, France’s work-horse grape, with the trend leading to more Syrah and Mourvedre based blends). The name Châteauneuf-du-Pape dates back to the 14th century during the time of the dual papacy.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape comes in two distinct styles, the more traditional ‘Old World’ (like this one) are dark, rich and spicy with firm tannins that lend these wines to cellaring; and the more contemporary fruit-forward style more reminiscent of New World wines.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark, but cellar ruby and garnet in color with edges that fade from brick to orange to pink. Slow thick legs work their way down the glass when swirled.
Smell – Bold aromas of spicy licorice balanced on top of earthy notes, black fruit, floral violets and cinnamon with a distinct undertone of cigar tobacco.
Feel – Initially warm and spicy, this full-bodied wine is rich with medium tannins and acidity that soften as this wine opens up.
Taste – Flavors of full and ripe wild berries and cherries with solid framework of earth and minerality, licorice and spicy cinnamon and pepper.
Finish – Medium long and elegant with hints of fruit and spice that linger on the palate.
Conclusion – Despite labels and bottles which may seen intimidating, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is exceptionally accessible. The unique blends make each Chateau’s wine fun and unique. These wines are full and rich with great fruit, spice and great earthy components that represent the regions unique Terroir and exceptional tradition. This Old World wine makes a perfect complement to a wide range of foods, exspecially rich meat dishes.
Note: We are also currently evaluating the 2004 vintage of this same wine. Be sure to pick up a few bottles for your cellar so you can do a vertical tasting of both exceptional vintages.
Dateline: July 18, 2008.
Location: Nimes, France, near the Rhône Valley
Agent Terroir had done an exceptional job of getting me to see a few of the great mountain finishes on this year’s Tour de France. After three spectacular days in the Pyrenees. We had loosely followed the tour through the South. Next stop the Alps, but we still had a few days and with the tour stopping in the historic town of Nimes, famous for its Roman vestiges, the Maison Carrée (Square House temple), Magne Tower, and Pont du Gard bridge it seemed like a goo point to take stock in our journey.
Tomorrow’s stage would take us to Digne-les-Bains, but now, only a few miles from the great wine village of Châteauneuf du Pape (CDP) I decided to make a short visit.
When I mentioned my intentions to Agent Terroir his eyes grew big and there was a noticeable feeling of excitement in his face. He had connections in Châteauneuf du Pape. Most notably the Callet family with vineyards in du Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages and Châteauneuf du Pape.
I was most interested in the CDPs. They are among the most unique and varied, and yet surprisingly accessible wines of the southern Rhône. A quick drive and we had arrived at Château Gigognan where we were immediately greeted by M. Jean Roure, the manager of the entire operation. Before we knew it we were in the tasting room, surrounded by a dozen glasses each, tasting a great selection. Oh, how this job is tough…
The best of which was a flight of their Clos-du-Roi CDPs. Starting with the 2003 vintage (the 2004 vintage, you’ll have to wait for)! For those unfamiliar with these great wines, they can be any permutation of up to 13 different varietals, but are mostly lead off with the Rhône’s dominant grape, Grenache. In this case, Château Gigognan’s CDP is mostly Syrah and Grenache and is made in the traditional style.
If you love rich, full-bodied, dark and spicy wines, be sure to pick up a few bottles. And if you have the patience, save one, as in the near future we will be featuring the 2004 vintage of this same wine. A perfect opportunity for you to recreate my vertical tasting.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Château Gigognan can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
CLOS DU ROI red is that wine you ought to keep in your cellar for it to offer its complete fullness. Also produced in white this Châteauneuf du Pape will be especially appreciated young for its crisp fruity aromas and older for its roundness. Amongst the 13 varieties of the appellation, Grenache and Syrah are privileged for the red and white Grenache and Roussanne for the white.
The robe of our red Clos du Roi is dark and the aromas recall intense liquorice and black berry notes foreseeing a harmonious and elegant mouth full of richness with a long lasting and delicate finish.
We recommend to serve the red wines between 14° to 16° with a roasted leg of lamb or truffles. The white Chateauneuf will perfectly be appropriate with a fine fish or, why not a dish of fried scallops. We suggest to serve it not more than 12°.
As a general point of view, the Châteauneuf du Pape area, belonging to the Côtes du Rhone, is one of the most driest part of the Rhône valley considering about 2800 hours of sun a year. The stony ground is mainly constituted of large pebbles taking in the heat during the daytime and restoring it to the vines at night. These exceptional weather conditions endow Châteauneuf du Pape wines with outstanding fullness.
About The Winery:
Today the CALLET family attends to the estate’s destiny, well surrounded by a professional team managed by M. Jean ROURE, associate of the CALLET’s since many years.
Since the domain was acquired in 1996, several renovation and restoration works have been undertaken.
The wine making cellar equipped with the most up to date technical machinery has been built over the ancient cellars for the 1998 harvest. The tasting cellar was ready to welcome our visitors in 2000 and we have been rewarded since by the highest grade of quality (3 leaves) in the” Côtes du Rhône wines” welcome charter in 2004.
Our vineyard covers 72ha (178 acres) with 3 appellations : Côtes du Rhône (22ha.), Côtes du Rhône Villages(20ha.) surrounded by woods. Our vines of Châteauneuf du Pape (32ha.) spread out in the southern area of the appellation.
The Mediterranean climate, typified by exceptional heat and Mistral north wind, is necessary and beneficial to the development of vines. These conditions, the type of ground and the choice of grape varieties have an effect on the style and feature of our wines.
Wines produced by Château Gigognan are retailed to professionals in France and in foreign countries but are also sold directly from our cellars to the general public (mostly to French consumers because of high export taxes).
From the tribute paid to Emperor Frederic Barberousse (Frederic 2nd), the bishop of Avignon was the unique Lord of Gigognan and its castle.
This territory, besides its castle and land, owned many churches and chapels.
As from the 14th century the castle isn’t mentioned any more but Gigognan is known as a territory. Until the end of the 18th century, Gigognan Priory obeys to the Celestins Fathers Monastery St Pierre de Luxembourg in Avignon. At that time vines were already grown but also fruit and olive trees.
Wikipedia Article on Châteauneuf-du-Pape (link)
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is an AOC for wine made near the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the Rhône wine region in southeastern France. It is the most renowned appellation of the southern part of the Rhône Valley. Vineyards are located around Châteauneuf-du-Pape and in the neighboring villages Bédarrides, Courthézon and Sorgues between Avignon and Orange and covers slightly more than 3 200 hectares or 7,900 acres (32 km2). Over 110,000 hectolitres of wine a year is produced here. More wine is made in this one area of southern Rhône then in the entirety of the northern Rhône region.
A characteristic terroir of Châteauneuf-du-Pape has a layer of stones called galets (“pebbles”). The rocks are typically quartzite and remnants of Alpine glaciers that have been smoothed over millennia by the Rhône River. The stone retains heat during the day and releases it at night which can have an effect of hastening the ripening of grapes. The stones can also serve as a protective layer to help retain moisture in the soil during the dry summer months. Some of the most prestigious vineyards in the area, like Chateau Rayas, have more traditional looking vineyards without the galets. These are most often vineyards located on south-facing slopes where the night-time radiated heat from the stones would be detrimental to the vines and cause overripening of the grapes.