Domaine Saint-Damien is run by Joel and Amie Saurel. The Saurel family had been tending vineyards for four generations, dating back to 1821, and until recently selling all of the grapes to negociants. In 1996 Joel resumed producing wine at the estate and in 1998 they brought on consulting winemaker Philippe Cambie. Vinification is classic with wines being made in large old cement tanks and aged in either the tanks or Large old foudres for the Gigondas.
Today the estate is comprised of 42 acres of vineyards of which 30 are in Gigondas. The vines are an average age of 50 years and are very low yielding. The wines of Gigondas are bottled according to individual terroir (particularly soil type) known as the Saint Damien Trilogy;
"Proprietor Joel Saurel, backed up by the inimtable Philippe Cambie as his consultant, has transformed this estate into one of the greatest in Gigondas, rivalling the two top producers, Yves Gras' Santa Duc and Louis Barruol's Saint Cosme."Robert Parker
2013 Côtes du Rhône Vieilles Vignes 80% Grenache, 15% Carignan, 5% Mourvèdre This wine is sourced from the lower terraced parcels of the Plan de Dieu lieu-dit, in the commune of Violès. The Grenache and Carignan vines are over 60 years old and the Mourvèdre 30 years. The wine is fermented for 30 days in concrete vats before 8 months of aging (again in concrete). The wine is bottled without fining or filtration. “My favorite of the non-Gigondas efforts, the 2013 Cotes du Rhone Vieilles Vignes has tons of strawberry, spice, licorice and dried-earth qualities in its savory, Provencal and chewy style. Made from 80% Grenache, 10% Carignan and 10% Mourvèdre from vines planted in the vast plains between Vacqueyras and Cairanne (plan de Dieu), it should drink nicely for 3-4 years.” eRobertParker.com #216, Jan 2015
2013 Gigondas Vieilles Vignes 80% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre Sourced from the lower terraced lands of Gigondas, from the stony, sedimentary soils the vines are an average of 40 years old on a 3.2ha plot. The vines yield only 28-30hl/ha. The wine goes through an extended fermentation and maceration (5 weeks) before maturing for 12 months in oak (foudre). The wine is bottled without fining or filtration. “Bright ruby-red. Assertive red berry and Asian spice aromas open up slowly with air and pick up suggestions of pungent flowers and smoky minerals. Palate-staining, sappy raspberry and bitter cherry flavors become sweeter with air and show excellent depth and energy. In a graceful, energetic style, finishing with powerful thrust, sneaky tannins and an echo of juicy red fruit. 92” Vinous Media, May 2016
2014 Gigondas Vieilles Vignes 80% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre “Vivid ruby. Fresh raspberry and cherry scents complicated by notes of white pepper and allspice. Juicy and focused, offering bitter cherry and red berry flavors that show a hint of medicinal bitterness. Becomes sweeter and deeper with air and shows very good energy on the finish, which is shaped by fine-grained tannins that fold quickly into the sappy fruit. (90-92)” Vinous Media, May 2016
2012 Côtes du Rhône Vieilles Vignes 80% Grenache, 15% Carignan, 5% Mourvèdre “The 2012 Cotes du Rhone exhibits knockout notes of roasted herbs, ripe red and black fruits, licorice and spice to go with a medium-bodied, sweetly fruited, upfront and decidedly delicious profile. Quaffable in the best sense of the word, buy it in multiple bottle lots and enjoy it over the coming couple of years.” eRobertParker.com #210, Oct 2013
2012 Gigondas Vieilles Vignes 80% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre Sourced from the lower terraced lands of Gigondas, from the stony, sedimentary soils the vines are an average of 40 years old on a 3.2ha plot. The vines yield only 28-30hl/ha. The wine goes through an extended fermentation and maceration (5 weeks) before maturing for 12 months in oak (foudre). The wine is bottled without fining or filtration. “The 2012 Gigondas Vieilles Vignes is a gorgeous effort that’s made from 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre that comes from three terroirs, the Louisianne, La Moutte and the Souteyrades lieux-dits, all of which are located on the lower plateau near the estate. It offers impressive kirsch, blackberry, toasted spice and licorice to go with a medium to full-bodied, sexy, supple and hard to resist style on the palate. Readers need to buy this by the case and drink it over the coming decade. 92” eRobertParker.com #216, Jan 2015