Philippe Gimel is the proprietor of St. Jean du Barroux, one of the best under-the-radar producers we’ve found this year. Philippe didn’t walk into the business with any grand schemes or idealism about making wine. He has used the knowledge he gained working at Château de Beaucastel, Domaine de la Janasse, and many others to plant, farm, and eventually make wine from three beautiful plots below Mont Ventoux. Philippe is a man of patience and precision, and farms organically. In fact, the vineyards are planted with a biodynamic philosophy, and he encourages the growth of other plants in and around his vines. This preserves the integrity of the surrounding ecosystem and ensures healthy soil. It also means that harvesting is completely manual.
His 2014 l’Argile Ventoux is composed of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault. Philippe uses all native yeasts in his winemaking, and the wine is aged in neutral concrete vats before bottling. You may have also noticed that this wine is a bit older than most on the market currently. That is because Philippe never releases a wine until he feels that it has begun to drink well. That is not to say that the wine needs to be consumed right away. It certainly could be drunk now (and perhaps paired with a roasted lamb), but it is made with such careful precision that it could easily age another decade or so, like its more renowned counterparts from Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
By: William Beare
K&L Staff Member
A seriously well-made wine if I've ever had one. This cuvee from Saint Jean du Barroux is awesome-- both highly enjoyable to drink and incredibly complex. It is a wine deeply connected to it's place of birth-- Mont Ventoux, and to the clay soils upon which the grapes were grown. The nose is full of mineral and earthy fruit-- the sort of clean, pure smell that comes to a forest with the first few rains of spring. The palate is restrained, fruit balanced by pepper and another big dose of clay minerality on the finish. This could easily stand up to the old-school big boys of the southern Rhone. Great value!
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