Chateau du Trignon Gigondas 2004
Well represented on American wine lists, this impassioned Gigondas doesn't pull any
punches; it definitely has guts. Gigondas, just to the northeast of the better-known
Châteauneuf-du-Pape, achieved appellation status in 1971; it had previously been bunched
into the larger group of Côtes du Rhône Villages. There are so many—too many—wine
adjectives out there, but if you make me choose one it would have to be “rustic;” this is a
well made regional wine that reflects terroir, as they say in French, a word that is
supposedly untranslatable but I see no reason not to simply call it “place.” The primary grape
is Black Grenache, with complements of Mourvedre, Cinsault and I suspect some Syrah. The
vines on the Trigonon estate are on average 35 years old.
Here is yet another wine that sits, on paper, at the comfortable and bureaucratically
convenient level of 14% alcohol by volume; my nose, body and brain dispute this claim
wholeheartedly; I give it at least 15%. You don't get an annoying heat on the nose as with
some alcoholic wines, yet the alcohol is not shy in the roll call. The nose and palate are
consistent: black fruit (black cherry and cassis), nutmeg and clove, black pepper, licorice
without the sweetness, and dark chocolate, also without the sweetness. The wine is honest,
dry, with solid acidity and chewy tannins, but you have the urge to drink it rather than cellar
it. The finish is impressive, merging the stamina of the fruit with the abiding chocolate,
tannins, acidity, place (there, I used that perfectly-adequate English-language term again) and
no-nonsense character of the appellation, which this wine certainly deserves. The $28 hit for
what you get is by no means a matter of regret.
Verdict: The Real Thing
Sometimes I want a wine that will make me reach for the stars; other times one that will put hair on my chest. Why not both, I sometimes think.
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman