Domaine Raspail-Ay 2016 Gigondas

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Tasting notes
A nose of red berries, it's richly tannic but ripe, with a creamy-velvety feel in the mouth and a long, savoury. It is undeniably a gastronomic wine that will pair wonderfully with game or beef stews and hard cheeses.

Why we recommend this wine
When we visited the Southern Rhone a while back (see our trip report here) it was not with the expectation of finding any Grenache that we liked as we have always thought it a bit too sweet to our tastes. But, as usually happens, we found that excellent wine makers make excellent wines that we really enjoy. And Raspail-Ay is an excellent wine maker!

The wine
A blend of 70% Grenache, 23% Syrah and 7% Mourvèdre, the grapes 100% destemmed, vinified in cement tanks and aged in large, old foudres for 14-18 months in large, old barrels. Although not a natural winery as such, this is one of those wines that tastes natural anyway. The wine making is traditional and that means minimal intervention. The wines are never fined and rarely filtered. These are wines packed with fruit, and age admirably. The wine is regularly awarded more than 90 points by those that rate wines.

The wine estate
Raspail Ay is one of the most celebrated, traditional Gigondas estates. Owner Dominique Ay has now been joined by his son, Christophe and daughter, Anne-Sophie. The 18 hectares of vineyards are perfectly positioned all around the house. Besides a small amount of Gigondas Rosè, only one wine is made-Gigondas. There is no Côtes du Rhone, no "Réserve", "Vielles Vignes" or special new oak cuvée bottling. Only one wine, consistently ranked among the top wines produced in the appelation year in and year out.

Food and wine
Full bodied and fruity with great tannins so grilled meat, hearty stews, strong hard cheeses and chocolate! Also see our guide to pairing food and wine here.

Did you know?
In the Southern Rhone the dominant name is Cotes du Rhone but there are 3 areas where the red wines are considered special (Appellation Contrôlée) – Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and Vaqueyas.