The old vines cuvee is the 2016 Gigondas Les Racines and comes from the oldest vines of the estate located around the domaine. The soils here lie around 200-300 feet in elevation and are a mix of broken limestone and clay, and the resulting wine is always blacker fruited, dense, and concentrated. Blackcurrants, black olives, exotic spices, and crushed rock notes all flow to a powerful, concentrated, tannic Gigondas that has remarkable purity and elegance. It shows the balance and freshness, as well as richness, that makes this vintage so compelling, and while it needs 2-3 years of bottle age, it's a profound, sensationally complex, layered wine readers shouldn't miss!
Score: 96 points -- Jeb Dunnock, jebdunnock.com, 2018
Domaine Les Pallières is undeniably one of the greatest, longest-running properties of the Southern Rhône—outside the village of Gigondas, woven into the foothills of the beautiful and brooding Dentelles de Montmirail. The domaine had been a continuously running farm within the same family since the fifteenth century! Les Pallières was once a famous domaine with wines of impeccable character, yet the property had slowly fallen into disrepair. Two great frosts of the twentieth century had killed off many of the olive and fruit trees, and both the winery and the vineyards were badly in need of repairs. By 1998, the Roux brothers wanted to make a change. With no future successors to take their place, they decided to sell. The Brunier brothers, Daniel and Frédéric, of the famed Vieux Télégraphe in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, were rising stars in the Southern Rhône at the time, having distinguished themselves time and time again with world class wines. A casual discussion over lunch at Chez Panisse between Daniel and Kermit Lynch, the Brunier’s longtime American importer, spontaneously turned into a game plan to revive the faded jewel—Les Pallières. Though the competition to buy the domaine was fierce with very reputable names in the mix, the Roux brothers finally decided to sell to the Bruniers and Kermit. After decades of neglect, Pallières’ renaissance had begun. A focus on the terroir and its potential soon led to a clear, new direction. The vineyards range from 250-400 meters in altitude, with varying proportions of sand and clay interwoven with limestone scree descending from the Dentelles. Terraces were built and reinforced, allowing for better water retention. A new winery was built to receive the harvested parcels individually in gravity-fed tanks. The many lieux-dits, once blended into one cuvée of Gigondas, have been separated into two, starting with the 2007 vintage, in an effort to best express two remarkable personalities. Cuvée “Terrasse du Diable,” encompasses the low-yielding vines from the higher altitudes that express great structure and intense minerality. Cuvée “Les Racines” showcases the vineyard parcels surrounding the winery—the origin of the domaine with the oldest vines—with the emphasis on freshness and extravagant cornucopian fruit. Domaine Les Pallières has become a partnership among friends, a real meeting of the minds—a creative collaboration of three leading, passionate experts on the wines of the Rhône.