If you don’t already know the name Xavier Vignon, that’s because Xavier’s day job keeps him behind the scenes. Since completing studies in the art of winemaking and blending in Australia, Champagne and Bordeaux in the 1990s, Xavier’s consulting advice has been the “secret sauce” for more than 250 Rhone wineries, including Chateauneuf producers like La Nerthe, La Vieille Julienne, Beaurenard, La Mordorée, and more.
In 1999, he decided to try winemaking on his own, setting up shop in a small garage and asking his consulting clients to pay part of his fees with lots of wine he chose from their cellars. It was a just for fun experiment – until one of his friends (without telling Xavier) sent some bottles to France’s wine bible, Guide Hachette. All earned the Guide’s top rating and soon his phone was ringing off the hook!
Today, Xavier continues to consult and he continues to take part of his fees in the form of selected barrels of wines from clients’ cellars. Then, he blends those selections into glorious, rich, and nicely mineral wines. We have one on sale this week from $24.98 on a case, and it certainly displays Xavier’s talents. For this wine, Xavier blends fruit from Gigondas, a region of hillside limestone-covered vineyards that marries Rhone richness with unique levels of perfume, minerality, and power, with the great 2015 vintage, which Vinous says gave “monumental, soon-to-be-legendary” wines and “one of the most consistently excellent sets of Gigondas that I’ve ever had the chance to taste.”
Blend site and vintage and Xavier’s talent together, and you get a ripe, fleshy, and fruit-filled composition of 95% Grenache and 5% Mourvedre that explodes with rich plum, black raspberry and blueberry fruits framed by classic Gigondas accents of fresh violets, exotic spice and cracked black pepper. With its smooth and lightly mineral finish, this is a joy to drink right now. But there’s enough structure down under the fleshy fruit to reward five to seven years of cellaring if you prefer.
In short, Xavier Vignon Gigondas 2015 is a big, fat yum, and – at our $24.98 best in the USA case price, a 37% off must buy red for fall, winter, and beyond. Heck, our $27.98/ea bottle and $26.98/ea six-pack prices are the best in the USA, too. You really can’t go wrong here!