Wednesday, March 3, 2010


The area around Sablet is renown for producing wonderful wines, especially red wines. If you drive 6 km south of Sablet on the D-7 towards Carpentras, you will see the small village of Gigondas up on the hill on the left side of the road.

Gigondas sits at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail in the Vaucluse Department; this little village, population 700, is an absolutely essential stop for lovers of big red wines.

Turn off the D-7 and follow the road up through the lower village; you will pass a succession of cafés and wine caves before you arrive at Place Gabriel Andéol where the Mairie, town hall, and the Caveau du Gigondas, wine growers cooperative are located.

Park your car in the public parking lot near the fountain and take some time to explore Gigondas before stopping to taste at one of the many wine caves or the Caveau du Gigondas where almost all the wines produced in Gigondas are available for dégustation, tasting or purchase.

The name Gigondas is of Roman origin. Jocunditas means great pleasure and enjoyment in Latin, with the town's origin and production of wine dating back to the Romans.

Stroll the pretty narrow streets lined with stone houses up to the parish church of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. On the way, you can find pretty views out over the region and the vineyards of Gigondas and the surrounding communes.

Built on the same grounds as the primitive feudal castle, the church dates from the beginning of the 17th century.

The feudal castle originally belonged to the Princes of Orange and was probably used as a second home. In 1678, a hospice was added to the castle.

After the French revolution, the castle became a girls' school, and stayed that way up until the beginning of the 20th century when it was finally abandoned and rapidly fell into ruin.

Gigondas is largely a red wine appellation with a small amount of rosé wine being produced. No white wine is produced.

In 1971, Gigondas was designated as its own appellation; previously it had been a Côtes du Rhône-Villages.

Our favorite producers of Gigondas wine are Domaine La Bouissiere, Domaine Les Pallieres and Chateau De Saint Cosme.

We spotted this old brass plaque hanging on the wall of the Domaine La Bouissiere cave; it reads: "Lord give me a long life, love from time to time, not too much work, and good wine all the time".

There are several very good places to eat in Gigondas which I will post in the future.

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