The 2017 Gigondas Classique Vieilles Vignes was scheduled to be bottled the week after my visit, so I tasted the final assemblage, which is 75% to 80% Grenache and the rest Mourvèdre. Scents of crushed stone, pepper and licorice lead the way, followed by intense notes of black cherries and tree bark. It's full-bodied, silky and long, with hints of chocolate that creep in on the finish. It looks suppler than I remember it being last year, and it's for the better.
Score: 92-94 points -- Joe Czerwinski, THe Wine Advocate, 244
Domaine Saint-Damien has been producing some of the region’s most elegant wines for years, but for some reason they rarely get the attention they deserve. Pricing here is also admirably fair, which makes this an address to be reckoned with for savvy Rhône wine lovers. The Saurel family, which has been farming here since 1821, now owns just over 12 hectares of vines in Gigondas, most of them quite old and cropped low, and the wines are aged in large, traditional concrete vats and old foudres and usually bottled on the young side “to preserve freshness,” as Romain Saurel said. Saurel’s father, Joël, is largely responsible for the domaine’s current (insider) fame and was also the one who brought its vineyards up to Agriculture Biologique certification in 2012. These wines are now consistently delivering some of the southern Rhône’s greatest values in high-end wine.