Based at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail, Domaine Font de Notre Dame is run by two brothers, Frédéric and Boris Roux. They produce only red wines from their 30 hectares of vineyards, which are spread over five southern Rhône appellations: Côtes du Rhône, Côtes du Rhône-Villages Sablet, the cru of Lirac and Rasteau and 7ha in Gigondas where they both live.
One of the higher southern Rhône appellations (along with Vaqcueras and Beaumes de Venise) Gigondas was, in 1971, the first Côtes du Rhône Villages appellation to be awarded Cru status. Its vineyards rise from the Ouvèze river to the west, the Trignan to the north and up the rocky ridges of the Dentelles de Montmirail (to the East and South) to an altitude of 500m.
Soils vary greatly but can be broadly grouped as limestone scree over marl (as in the Roux’s vineyards), various sandstones and clays on the mid-slopes and gravel stones and alluvial silt towards the river-bank. The stonier topsoils allow easy run off for rainwater to be retained in the red clay subsoils which nourish the vines in the drier months. Most vineyards are bathed in morning sun; sheltered by the Dentelles and with a mainly northerly aspect.
Grapes mature more slowly and the harvest is later than other appellations; the extra time being highly suited Gigondas’ dominant variety of Grenache Noir. Font de Notre Dame’s Gigondas is a blend of Grenache (of course) with a small proportion of aromatic Syrah and Mourvèdre fermented in traditional 20hl concrete vats (the winery houses 8 in total). The wine is matured for 12 months in French oak before release in the regulation appellation bottle, embossed with a coat of arms featuring the 15th century hunting horn of the family of Orange (past patrons of Gigondas) and an olive branch marking the return of plots, planted after phylloxera with olive groves, to vineyards once more.
Garrigue aromas with a slight mint note on the nose. Silky and balanced, with good fruit character and ripe tannins. 2019 is considered as one of Gigondas’ finest vintages.
Match this with venison casserole, roasted duck leg and a selection of root vegetables. Alternatively with ratatouille or pan fried wild mushrooms ideal meat free options.