2012 Pierre Amadieu Le Pas de l’Aigle Gigondas, Rhône
Score : 90+/100
This cuvée ‘Le Pas de l’Aigle’ by Pierre Amadieu is made from grapes grown on vineyards at 400 meters of altitude, “where the eagle flies”, hence its name.
It is a blend of Grenache and Syrah from a late harvest and with a manual selection of the ripest bunches to compensate for the slowest ripening conditions in altitude.
The cuvaison (the time the wine stays macerating in tank) is extended to one month which is pretty long.
Ageing lasted 24 months in large 100 hl oak vats (10K liters), just to integrated a little oak and refine the wine.
This Gigondas red from the Rhone valley comes in a rather dark and quite dense red color, not hugely dark like super-concentrated Rhone blends or Syrah (should I say Shiraz) from the new world, but it’s nearly black to the core, and dark red with purple hues to the rim. It still looks young despite its nearly 5 years of age at the time of tasting.
The nose is intense, and dominated by powerful spicy notes of pepper and clove, as well as ripe liqueur-ish fruit aromas.
Fresh blackberry, cherry liqueur, and strawberry jam marry the black pepper (perhaps some white too as it smells both dark and chili-like spicy). There’s some capsicum (bell pepper) notes in there too accentuating the chili-like feel.
Oaky notes of vanilla and sweet spices from well-integrated oak are there too, providing depth and an impression of subtle ‘sweetness’ to the smell.
Complex, deep, and tempting it is to smell then!
The palate almost surprises by its utter smoothness, it’s velvety with delicately-drying tannins, almost a silky feel though a little granulous.
Rich body accompanied by, again, liqueur-like red berries flavors of cherry, blackberry and more. Spices, the sweet ones and the pepper make the profile interesting, while delicate oaky tones further smoothen the tasting sensations.
There are some vegetal characters in there, a bit like licking a laurel leaf, suggesting the grapes weren’t 100% ripe and perfectly balanced.
But the overall feel is powerful, ripe indeed from alcoholic warmth and jammy/liqueur tones.
A very enjoyable, extremely smooth and generous, yet characterful and filled with a wealth of personality Gigondas of a wine.