Gigondas is a village in the southern Rhône valley and an appellation for red and rosé wines. Both colours are made from up to 80 percent Grenache (according to the appellation laws), with at least 15 percent comprised of Syrah and Mourvèdre. Any Gigondas wine may have a maximum of 10 percent of any variety sanctioned by the standard red Côtes du Rhône appellation laws, with the exception of Carignan.
The resulting style of wine made under the appellation is often likened to that of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, just 17 kilometres (10 miles) to the southwest. Red wines are typically bold, forward, ripe and relatively high in alcohol – in fact, the appellation laws require a minimum alcohol level of 12.5 percent, one of the highest stipulated for French red wine. The best examples can certainly match many bottlings from its more famous neighbour.
The quality measures taken in the creation of Gigondas' wines include the mandatory selection of healthy grapes over imperfect grapes, known in French as triage. Maximum yield is set at 36 hectolitres per hectare, only 1hl more than Châteauneuf-du-Pape (385 vs 374 US gallons per acre).
The appellation occupies an area covering the base and slopes of the first Dentelles de Montmirail foothills. The villages of Beaumes-de-Venise and Vacqueyras are located to the south and west of Gigondas respectively and enjoy very similar growing conditions. The terroir here is characterized by a hot, dry Mediterranean climate and by the combination of limestone soils (on the Montmirail slopes to the east) and rocky, sandy, free-draining soils (on the flatter, lower-lying land to the north and west).