Domaine La Bouïssière, Gigondas
The original high-altitude estate in Gigondas.
Run by the Faravel brothers Thierry and Gilles, whose father Antonin began is regarded as Gigondas legend, planting the most mountain vines in the area from 1942 until the1960s. During his mornings, nights, and weekends, Antonin and his wife Geneviève began clearing brush and trees in the Col du Cayron hills below the Dentelles de Montmirail, at 500 meters elevation, using the natural geographic profile to marry vines to the slopes harmoniously-- without manipulating the terroir-- the more difficult way to plant in the mountains.
Today their Bouïssière farm includes these original 9 hectares in the Col du Cayron section of Gigondas, as well as another 11 hectares between the Beaumes-de-Venise, Vacqueyras, and Côtes-du-Rhône appellations. When we mentioned Les Pallières to Thierry (the Gigondas estate I knew most during my previous assignment) he began waxing poetic about a bottle of 1990 that he recently tried, wine of a time before the introduction of de-stemming. Or as Hermitage legend, Gérard Chave put it, "Where is the truth? The truth is in the old bottles, before all the tricks and marketing came along." Domaine La Bouïssiere leaves most of their Grenache in whole bunches for Gigondas, ferments only using native yeasts, ages in large old foudres, and bottles without fining or filtration. In short, a Gigondas that is deliciously stuck in time.
They also bottle a Clairette Blanche, labeled simply as a Côtes du Rhône Blanc, which may be the finest expression of this cépage that we've encountered yet.