Just to the west of town, this Domaine has since 1998 been under the stewardship of brother and sister team of Marie and Francois Giraud, whose lineage in winemaking on their father’s side stretches back six centuries. Their parents, Pierre and Mireille had started in 1974 as tenant farmers and gradually built up holdings of their own. The first bottled wine from the estate was produced from vintage 1981 after Marie’s family distillery was converted into a winemaking facility.
The estate – totaling 35 hectares - has extraordinarily well-situated vineyards of mostly old vines on the plateau of le Crau, Gallimarde and in the Pignan region. The Gallimarde parcel is particularly cherished, being a continuous block of 8 hectares planted with century old Grenache and Mourvèdre, in addition to some younger Syrah vines planted on soils richer in clay. The rest of the estate is spread across various parcels over the northern parts of the appellation.
The estate has been organic since 2011. Fermentation is in stainless steel and concrete tanks. Grenache and Mourvedre go into concrete tanks for aging, but the Syrah goes into French oak.
The cuvee Tradition is made up mostly of Grenache. The Les Gallimardes rouge cuvee is from an old parcel in the south that has long been owned by the estate planted to 100 year old Grenache and some Syrah, with several white varieties, planted on clay limestone soils, with each variety being vinified separately. Covered in galets, this soil gives a typically authentic Chateauneuf of power and concentration. The Les Grenaches des Pierre bottling comes from very old Grenache planted in sandy soils on le Crau and in Pignan. The wine is a homage to their father Pierre. The wine combines power and finesse.
Still maturing in concrete at the time of my visit the 2020 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Gallimardes comes from the lieu-dit of the same name located south of the village. It's a classic galets roulés-and-clay terroir with the old-vine Grenache that makes up 90% of the assemblage planted around 1903 (the Syrah component is more recent). Concentrated black cherries dominate the nose yet this full-bodied effort is remarkably silky and fresh with its long finish marked by a zesty-briny note.
Offers inviting red currant and cassis flavors up front layered with licorice root fruitcake spices and charred mesquite. Though big-boned this shows grace and polish balance and finely cut texture. Reveals iron shavings and crushed herbes de Provence which add a refreshing savory edge through a finish that goes on and on. Beautiful. Grenache and Syrah. Drink now through 2038. ?K.B.
Coming all from a single parcel in the southern part of the appellation, the 2020 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Gallimardes is 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah. Its slightly deeper purple hue is followed by full-bodied aromas and flavors of darker, almost blue fruits, ground pepper, loamy soil, truffle, and Provençal garrigue. With a forward, charming, sexy profile, it has sweet tannins and the balance and depth to evolve for 10-15 years.
One of my favorite estates in Châteauneuf du Pape is unquestionably Domaine Giraud, and the team of Marie and François Giraud have turned out brilliant wines in every vintage I’ve tasted from them. In addition to their three Châteauneuf du Papes (classic, Gallimardes, and Grenache de Pierre), they also produce a terrific Vin de France based on Syrah and Mourvedre, and a fabulous Lirac that comes from sandier soils and is largely Grenache with 20% each of Syrah and Mourvedre. The 2020s here epitomize the pretty, balanced, elegant style of the vintage, and the 2021 from barrel should certainly be an outstanding wine.jd