Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas Le Lieu Dit… 2021

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Bosquets is a top terroir containing a small enclave of pure fine sand, locally called “Safres”. This is the vineyard that surrounds the cuverie. Despite its lower altitude, this is still where the last harvest is done. This is because the plot is surrounded by higher rocks and forest and receives less direct sun. That, together with the sandy soil gives the estate’s most nuanced, refined wine and this without sacrificing volume and power. Simply delicious! In fact, vines were planted on this plot as early as the 14th century! Yield of barely 18hl/ha, 4200 bottles and 180 magnums bottled.

Vinous: 95-97/100

RP: “Bold raspberry and black cherry aromas are laced with Campari-like spice on the nose of the stunning 2019 Gigondas Le Lieu Dit, which comes from a sandy, southwest-facing parcel that is consistently among the last plots on the estate to be harvested. Full-bodied and velvety in texture, this is a rich, tannic (but ripe) example of Grenache that should be capable of aging well for close to two decades”. 93-96/100

It may have been his first time, but Julien Brechet proved to be a capable Zoom participant when we chatted just before Christmas. He had sent samples of his bottled 2018s and blended, prebottling samples of most of his 2019s. Despite both vintages being on the warm side, he pointed out that they were very different years. “Eighteen was very difficult, not for the quality at the end, but for how to drive the vineyard early,” he said, referencing the wet May and first part of June. Although the effects of mildew were mitigated by his hillside location in Gigondas, he felt it did have an effect on the stems, so he destemmed more than usual. Brechet explained, “For me, [it’s] more on balance than power, with freshness.” 2019 was exactly the contrary; no one was confident of the quality. Yet the wines, he said, are much more concentrated. “You feel the rich side, the solar side, but, finally, the balance is unbelievable—not far from 2016 or 2010.” Across the domaine, Brechet experienced yields of 16.5 hectoliters per hectare in 2019. “There was no need to push too much to extract,” he said. “After two days, [the must] was dark and concentrated.” In the vineyards, the estate has been undergoing conversion to organics and will be certified by EcoCert starting with the wines from the 2021 vintage.He’s also begun using some of the biodynamic preparations. From 2019, Brechet has added an additional parcel selection, Roches, which is made from Syrah grown in the same north-facing vineyard as the Le Plateau Mourvèdre. There’s also a new luxury cuvée, Le Regard Loin. Blended in secret proportions from the top barrels of the five parcel selections, it is truly impressive. Look for it later in 2021 (or maybe sometime in 2022). The wines emanating from this meticulously run estate must now be considered at or near the very top of the heap within Gigondas. And while Le Regard Loin will undoubtedly be expensive (as are the single-parcel wines), the regular Gigondas and Brechet’s Vin de France (from young Gigondas vines) and Côtes du Rhône Villages (largely from Séguret) remain excellent values under $30.

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