Gigondas goes white: tasting the first of the new Gigondas Blanc wines

There’s a lot of excitement in Gigondas about white wines. From 2023, Gigondas can be white as well as red! Just 1% of its surface area is planted to white grapes, but this will surely grow, and the first releases of these whites look very promising indeed.

It took 11 years to get this move through. The first discussions with the president of the INAO began in 2011, and his answer was that there’s no way you will get AOC for white Gigondas because there isn’t enough of it, says Louis Barruol who is president of Gigondas. He wasn’t impressed with his dealings with the INAO. But finally we have it: an AOC for white Gigondas, which was approved in 2022.

From 2011-2018 experiments were conducted with white grapes grown in various parts of the appellation. Then, in 2018 the proposal became that Clairette blanche become the main grape variety (at least 70% in the blend, up to 100%), with the other grapes the traditional white varieties grown in Gigondas (Bourboulenc blanc, Clairette rose, Grenache blanc and gris, Marsanne blanche, Piquepoul blanc and Roussanne). There are also two secondary grape varieties, Viognier and Ugni blanc (maximum 5% each).

It was great to be able to try these wines and I came away enthused.

[These wines are tank samples.]

Domaine Les Teyssonnieres Gigondas Blanc 2023
Clairette 70%, Grenache gris 30%. Still slightly cloudy, this is fresh, textural and fine-grained with lovely pear and white peach fruit supported by a nice acid line and a subtle saline twist. Some smoky, nutty, spicy notes on the nose. Lovely texture here. 93/100

Clairette 70%, Roussanne 10%, Marsanne 10%, Grenache blanc 10%. Fine, fresh and vivid with good acidity under the dense, sweet pear, white peach and lemon fruit. It’s concentrated and lively with some nice salty lemony notes on the finish. 94/100

Le Mas des Flauzieres Gigondas Blanc LA QUINTESSENCE 2023
Clairette 80%, Roussanne 20%. Concentrated, rich and textural with some spicy detail and complexity adding interest to the rich pear and white peach fruit. Very salty and alive with lots of interest. Has depth but also precision. Long tapering finish. 94/100

Domaine du Terme Gigondas Blanc 2023
Clairette 100%. Such vitality here: concentrated, layered bright fruits with a fine-grained structure and nice saltiness. Pure, with good acidity, and rich but focused white peach and pear fruit. Some rich nutty notes on the finish. 93/100

Saint Cosme Hominis Fides Gigondas Blanc 2023
Clairette. This is very delicate and fine with bright lemony fruit as well as some pear and a touch of chalkiness. Has a slight salinity and shows lovely finesse. 93/100

Sainte Cosme La Poste Gigondas Blanc 2023
Tortonian limestone like Barbaresco, from the plot by the chapel. Clairette planted in 1964. Lively, bright and linear with nice pear and peach fruit with lovely finesse. There’s a spicy twist to the ripe fruit. 93/100

DOMAINE DU PESQUIER Gigondas Blanc 2023
Clairette 90%, Piquepoul 10%. This is quite fresh with a core of sweet citrus fruit and then some subtle nutty hints. Has a touch of honey and some bright lemony detail. Fresh and expressive. 92/100

Domaine La Bouïssiere Gigondas Blanc 2023
Clairette 98%, Grenache blanc 2%  Fresh and layered with sweet citrus and pear fruit with some white peach. Nutty with a touch of what tastes like oak, showing purity, concentration, texture and freshness. Very classy and quite polished. 93/100

Pierre Amadieu Domaine Grand Romane Gigondas Blanc 2023  (this is bottled)
100% Clairette. 12.5% alcohol. Lively, complex and aromatic. There’s some oak here adding a savoury, spicy edge, and lots of bright citrus fruit with some subtle peachy richness. Linear with some saline notes on the finish. 92/100

GIGONDAS LACAVE  Domaine de la Souchière Gigondas Blanc  2023
Clairette 100%. Bright, fruit forward and quite delicious with crisp lemony fruit and some richer pear and melon notes. Good acidity here with a crisp fruitiness, but also some depth of flavour. Nice precision and purity, finishing with a mandarin flourish. 92/100

Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Blanc 2023
Toast, meal and spice on the nose with nice saline undercurrents and some nutty detail, as well as bright pear and citrus fruit. Compex and layered with a long, spicy, nutty finish. 93/100

Domaine Santa Duc Gigondas Blanc 2023
This was the first harvest from overgrafted vineyards high up in the village. Marl-rich soils. There was just one barrel made, and the blend is 90% Clairette, 10% Bourboulenc co-fermented, with a slow 5 h press cycle. Lovely aromatics here: crystalline citrus fruit with lovely aromatics and notes of almond and fine spices. Delicate, refined and mineral with great precision and some fennel notes on the finish. 94/100