Domaine Les Pallieres, Gigondas, 2001 (Oct. 7, 2008)

I tasted this wine four years ago at a Southern Rhone tasting at WineRoute. In the company of its outstanding 2001 peers (Beaucastel, Tardieu-Laurent, Pegau and Vieux Telegraph CdP's as well as Tardieu-Laurent's Gigondas and Vacqueyras), this stuck out like a sore thumb with its stingy fruit and medicinal overtones. But for some reason it piqued my curiousity and as its reviews were favorable and the price very very nice indeed, I bought a bottle to see where it would go.

My curiosity pays off as I am greeted by aromas of ripe red and black fruit that never stray over the top, short blasts of cranberries slicing through black cherries over a hint of herbs. The mouth has an Old World rusty feel to it, which I like, and, initially, an austerity which is at odds with the ripeness the nose displays. Slow to open, the nose starts to show coffee and pepper over those herbs as the palate begins to flesh out. Despite the warmth of the vintage and 14% alcohol, and because of the crisp tannins, this feels like a cool climate wine. And a food wine. I think this will really peak in two-three years but it's a very good drink now if you're patient, as that patience will reward you with an exquisite intellectual pleasure as you watch the wine unfold. Confession time: I wish I'd bought another bottle.

In certain respects, this may be one of the brainiest wines WineRoute have ever sold.