Intense aromas of strawberry, cherry, garrigue and anise. Lush and sweet, with fresh red and dark fruit flavors nicely framed by supple tannins. Finishes on a warm note, with a lingering red berry note.
Domaine Santa Duc is in Quartier des Hautes Garrigues, Gigondas, in the Southern Rhone Valley. The 25-acre estate has been owned for generations by the Gras family, and it is today run by Yves Gras. The estate is best known for its various Gigondas cuvees, although Gras also offers other Rhone wines through his negociant label. Robert M. Parker Jr. has called Yves Gras “one of the stars of Gigondas… (He) turns out some of the most complex, concentrated, long-lived, potentially complex wines of the southern Rhone.”
The Southern Rhône Valley wine region extends from Orange in the north through the communes Lirac and Tavel in the southwest. The French call the region Côtes du Rhône Méridionales and it includes some of the best known appellations in France, such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas. The climate and landscape of the Southern Rhone differ significantly from the Northern Rhone. There are hot, often windy Mediterranean appellations near Nimes and the south, and higher altitude, relatively cool appellations such as Côtes du Ventoux to the east. Understanding the region can be confusing given that there are thirteen appellations and sixteen red and white grapes allowed for wines with appellation status. Syrah is grown here, but it is much less important than in the north. Grenache is the prominent red grape, though most red wines are blends of at least four varietals. Other commonly used red grapes are Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Muscardin. Counoise, Terret Noir, Vaccarèse and Syrah are also permitted. The primary white grapes are Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Bourboulenc, though Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne are permitted, as are Picpoul and Picardin. Of note is the Côtes du Rhone Villages AOC, which is only in the Southern Rhone. Though Côtes du Rhône AOC wine is made in both the north and south, the Villages appellation has stricter requirements for winemaking and is generally considered higher quality than simple Côtes du Rhône. Robert M. Parker Jr. has written that “There is a vast amount of enjoyment to be discovered in the southern Rhône…for these are some of the most sumptuous and pleasure-giving wines produced in the world.”