Escaravailles’s vines are located on the rolling hills above the village of Roaix. This large estate, 65 hectares, covers the AOCs of Rasteau, Cairanne, Plan de Dieu and Cotes du Rhone. Giles Ferran, owner and winemaker fashions wonderful wines with real regional character – in spite of maintaining high levels of production. Highlights of the range include the famous “La Ponce” Rasteau, a benchmark in the AOC and a huge hit with our tour guests, the 100% Grenache “Heritage” from old vines planted in the 1920’s – ages wonderfully, their “La Galopine” white CdeR (superb barrel aged Marsanne/Roussanne blend) and a terrific line up of Grenache-based dessert wines including the subtly maderized TPMG. Giles is a fan of Alsace whites since the days of taking his daughter back and forth to Strasbourg University – he imported Riesling and Gewurtztraminer vines to his estate from which he makes an eclectic but delicious blend of Rhone/Alsace varietals the ”Grand Scarabée” – made at humble Vin de France level but one of my favourite local whites. Giles was at university with the legendary Rhone consultant Philippe Cambie, the two are close friends and even collaborate in production of a wine together – “Calendal” in the AOC of Plan de Dieu (proving that flat land = so-so wines is just wrong!)
Domaine Saint Gayan
An historic estate of located in the north of the appellation with a history of wine making dating back to the 15th century and on a site once populated by the Romans s– ploughing regularly unearths shards of Roman pottery here. The current wine makers are husband and wife team Jean- Pierre and Martine Meffre together with their son in law Christian -Yves. Jean-Pierre’s father roger was a key driver of the appellation and along with Francois Ay was decisive in obtaining Cru status for Gigondas in 1971.The estate comprises around 30ha of land of which 16ha is Gigondas, a tiny 0.75ha is CNP, 5ha in Rasteau, 1.4ha in CdeRVillages Sablet and 11ha Cotes duRhone. The estate’s terroir is principally red clay.My introduction to this wonderful estate was first via their Rasteau sold by the British Rhone specialist Yapp Brothers – it has always been a favourite of mine. The Gigondas blend is 80%
Grenache, 15% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre. Average age of the vines around 60 years. Maturation is 12 months in demi-muids and vat. The wines are unfined and unfiltered. The Gayan style tends towards the supple and approachable – tannins can be fierce in young Gigondas but Meffre wines usually exhibit refined versions of these tannins and a balanced freshness. There is ripe fruit and layers of oak, tar, tobacco, licorice, kirsch and spice. Recent great vintages 2007 and 2010 are in my view some of the best wines of the appellation.