The making of great wine is about a place, a growing season, and the hands that shape those elements into a finished wine. So what happens when you marry France's most explosively masculine appellation, an excellent vintage, and a terrifically talented female winemaker? That's what we discovered at Domaine Giraud, an estate that is quickly rising in prominence as a result of the youthful inspiration of an unusual brother/sister wine team.
Domaine Giraud Estate's Francois and Marie Giraud are fortunate as their passions are perfectly complementary. Francois likes nothing more than to hand tend the family's 100 year-old Grenache vines in the lunar-like landscape of the southern portion of Chateauneuf. Francois smiles when he talks about these plants, saying that they are 'like old souls with lots of stories to tell.' But, despite the magnificence of the holdings and the fabulous fruit that Francois cultivates, what most intrigues us about these wines is Marie's signature winemaking. In an appellation whose cellars are full of young turks producing incredibly powerful wines, Marie's deft feminine hand provided us with another take on this fabulous appellation.
When we visited Francois and Marie last Fall, Marie introduced us to the 2004 Chateauneuf-du-Pape "Tradition". The wine was restrained, particularly in the coolness of the cellar. But as we spent time with the wine, it opened slowly and seductively, adding fine layers of weight and complexity. After a couple of hours, the wine was completely filled out, and the fine, sophisticated aromatics took over.
The Domaine Giraud "Tradition" is an elegant Chateauneuf du Pape, featuring a fine array of aromas; from dark fruit to roasting herbs and tobacco leaf. Perfect with garlic infused, butterflied leg of lamb rubbed with rosemary.