Philippe Gimel is such a great guy and he makes such great wines. No wonder that the world is beginning to take notice. Great Parker points will probably do the trick but there is much more to his wines than power.
Okey – I must confess that I am a sucker for the wines of southern France. And if you say “grenache” I’m game! This is probably one of the worlds most underrated grapes capable of both great complexity and power (think Châteauneuf-du-Pape!). It’s not as easy to fall in love with as say a great cabernet or a syrah/shiraz – but gifted winemakers and their best grenache wines are now setting new standards all over the world. Even in Rioja are winemakers starting to re-evaluate this once so neglected and unfashionable grape.
I first came across Philippes fantastic greanche blends a year ago in the outskirts of the god forsaken town of Klippan in the north west of Swedens most southernly region – Skane (or Skåne as we call it!).
He has worked for both Château Beaucastel and Domaine de la Janesse – two Châteaneuf-du-Pape icons and when he finally found his dream vineyard it was in nearby Ventoux. Saint Jean du Barroux is located in the South of France, Provence, on the slopes of Mount Ventoux (300-400 meters above sea level). And it is sandwiched between the more known Vacqueyras, Gigondas and Beaumes-de-Venise. And it is only 25 kilometers to Châteauneuf-du-pape!
His first vintage was in 2003 and he now got a handfull of wines going – all organically farmed. The wines recently changed names and the flagship Saint Jean du Barroux No 5 became La Pierre Noire and the wonderful Oligocéne was renamned l’Argile.
I’ve written quite a lot about the wines in my swedish blog and a few days back I opened another bottle Oligocéne 2005 just for the fun of it! And yeah – it is developing nicely!
SJB Oligocéne 2005
75 percent grenache, 15 percent syrah and 5 percent each of cinsault and carignan. Low yields of 20 hl/ha and 12 days of skincontact/maceration. 1,5 years elevage in cement tanks before bottling.
Dark blueish red colour.
Big opulent nose with dark and red berries (blackberries and strawberries), liquorice, smoke/fudge, herbs the Provence and leather. Notes of tobacco and meat.
Medium to full bodied and concentrated taste of dark berries, chocolate, meat, dried fruits and herbs. After some time in the glass – more red berries, nuts, fudge, dried fruits and liquorice. Long and complex aftertaste. Still quite firm tannins. This wine will continue to develop and evolve for som time!