When talking to Véronique Cunty, one would be forgiven for thinking that she may be new to this wine thing. There is boundless energy and a disarming honesty that one sees more often in younger winemakers. There is also the fact that she looks ridiculously young and we ascribe that to living and working in one of the most beautiful villages of Southern France. As she expounds more about the wines and the land, it quickly dawns upon us that Véronique has been doing this for decades starting as young as 5 years of age under the eye of her father.This remarkable winemaker is a pioneer in Gigondas. In 2012, the New York Times rated her Gigondas as one of the best examples from the region. There is not one year where the critics don’t rave about her wines. Of course her wines are great. We will not waste time disputing that.
It is not about points from critics although she has bucketfuls of those. There is a lot written about her. It is about passion.It is about honest wine.
Domaine de Font-Sane and her wines were the first we thought of when we decided to get into the wine import gig. What we recognize is that when we taste a bottle of Gigondas from Domaine de Font-Sane, we are witnessing the skill and history behind one of France’s remarkable winemaker. We will also be terribly amiss if we fail to acknowledge the role played by Romain Cunty, her son in the development of this estate.
We decided to ask Véronique the following 5 questions:
1. At what age did you first make wine?
I first made wine when I was 24, just after finishing my studies of viticulture-oenology in Avignon.
2. What is the most important lesson you have learned as a winemaker?
When I was a kid, I helped my parents in the cellar and in the vineyard. They taught me a lot about wine. After studying, I had straightaway a lot of responsabilities and I gave rise to my first vintage in 1987.
3. What did you have for dinner last night and what wine did you drink with it?
I had red mullet filets with a Rosé wine from Domaines Ott in Bandol.
4. Which was your most memorable vintage? And why?
2007 was one of the best vintages in the Rhône Valley, therefore it was unforgettable. But the vintage 1987 was indelible because it was my first one and we had a very hard year with weather. However, 1987 was a good vintage in the end, with great awards from wine reporters.
5. Tell us the truth. Which one do you like more – Grenache or Syrah?
I like Grenache more because it gives full-bodied and well-rounded wines with fruit and spices. It is definitely the king of the Southern Rhône Valley.
To learn more about Domaine de Font-Sane, Véronique and why she thinks Grenache is the bomb, click below.
So, you like Chateauneuf du Pape? GSM (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre) wines? Then you got to know about Gigondas. Gigondas is a beautiful village north east of Chateauneuf. Sheltered by the jagged Dentelles de Montmirail, this is one of the treasured spots for Grenache. Gigondas derives its name from Jocundas which is Latin for Joy!
I am using my imagination here but I would like to think this is how it happened. One day in circa long time ago, the Romans wandered into the foothills of the Dentelles des Montmirailes. Gazed from a distance, the jagged crown of the mountains reminded them of lace. True, the edges of these mountains were worn down with time. Hence the name “Dentelles”.
Like any traveler today, what struck the ancient Romans was the joy that this place instilled in one’s heart. Jocundas the Roman called it . Joy. Jocundas. Gigondas. The place fills you with unabashed joy. Sheltered under the Dentelles, the vines grow with the same sense of joyfulness that permeates this place. I have always associated the wines of Gigondas as happy wines. They are celebratory. There are no white wines in Gigondas. They are all red and a wee bit of rosés. The reds are mostly a blend of Grenache and Syrah with a fair amount of Mourvedre thrown in. Grapes have been grown here since the Roman times. The wines here literally reflect the land. The term garrigue is referred to the wines here a lot. Garrigue is the brush that grows in these semi-arid parts.
It is as if the landscape decided to be part of the wine. Garrigue, thyme, lavender, smoke, minerals, forest floor, earthy- these are common descriptors of wines here
The soil around these mountains are all limestone. Also, the vineyards are sheltered from the morning sun and the grapes ripen slow at a leisurely Provencal pace. All this gives the wines of Grenache finesse, power and an incredible ability to age.
That brings up the wines of Véronique Cunty and Domaine de Font-Sane.