Exclusive offer: 2/3/2023 — For the Love of Gigondas (and beef stew)

Offer available until Monday, 2/6/2023, at 6 pm or as inventory lasts.

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Hi everyone –

Some of you know that the first wine love of my life was the Southern Rhône.

It was back in 1996 when I was a server at The Vintage (in the big mansion on Selby just east of Dale), easily the best wine bar/restaurant in the Twin Cities in the late 1990s. We were the first to pour many magical wines by the glass, all under the leadership of wine manager Brian Mallie (now the buyer for all the Kowalski’s Wine Shops, which are great, by the way). Brain was one of the first to open my eyes to the magic of fermented grape juice.

And the wines I found myself attracted to the most were often from the Southern Rhône, where the Grenache grape grows to perfection and certain regions bring a power that is almost indescribable.

One of those regions is Gigondas.

I was reminded of this earlier this week when we taught our Southern Rhône Masterclass at the U of M. We served a Guigal Gigondas from the 2019 vintage that was OFF THE HOOK. So many layers, so much power, so much finesse. It was one of the best wines I’ve had in quite some time. As a result of that class, we sold all of the Guigal Gigondas left in the Minnesota market (more will be back in stock in a few weeks, so we’ll offer that wine in a future offer). The Guigal was so good that I went on the hunt for more Gigondas for this week’s offer.

And I found two of our favorites, sitting quietly in the corner of a local importer’s warehouse. We secured the inventory, got an incredible price on the wines, and can offer them here for you.

Don’t pass this one up. These are the kind of wines that are going up in price this year as inflation and shipping increases work their way through the wine distribution system (depending on the wine, it could take 1-2 years before some increases hit but suddenly a wine that was $40 for years will now be $55+).

Background on Gigondas

The rugged hills of Gigondas, an area where you have to work hard to make your wines.

Gigondas as a region is more rugged, more earthy, harder working, less recognized, and (dare I say it?) often better than their peers in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. At least that’s my opinion. 

Why is this? Because of a simple fact: bud break happens one week earlier in Gigondas than in CDP. And, harvest happens on average one week later in Gigondas than in CDP. That’s two extra weeks of hangtime on the fruit to achieve the same ripeness, which gives the Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre time to really settle into some awesome flavor development. 

Combine that with a slightly cooler average temperature during the growing season (compared to CDP), and you have a stunning combination of circumstances. Warm springs make early bud break, but a relatively cooler summer compared to surrounding micro-regions makes for more flavor development. (Don’t get me wrong, Gigondas is still hot region but I’m saying just not as hot as other Southern Rhône regions.)

Gigondas = awesome. Simple as that.

Especially if you love red wines with guts, earthiness, and finesse.

On the 2019 Southern Rhône Vintage

2019 was a hot year, and some producers feared it would be a repeat of the blast-furnace 2003 vintage. But the heat struck at the right time, simply making the wines rich and textural instead of burnt. (Sidebar: vines shut down the pumping of chlorophyll in the vine when it gets too hot. It’s a survival mechanism. So when the heat hits vis-a-vie the grape development is what makes the difference, and ironically extreme heat at the right time can make for higher acidity in the resulting wine, due to this pumping shutdown. That’s that happened to many 2019s in the Rhone, and the results are spectacular.)

The [2019] wines are extraordinary, unlike anything else. They are vibrant, exuberant, sometimes a little over the top. They abound with flavours of fruit. There is nothing jammy or stewed; everything tastes fresh. Tannins are present but they’re ripe and well rounded. Ageing has been a great benefit as the wines needed a certain amount of taming.


Font-Sane Gigondas “Tradition” 2019

Font-Sane is one of my favorite producers, farming a tiny 3.3-acre parcel of Gigondas (they also make a dynamo Ventoux).

They make two wines from Gigondas. Their “Terrasses des Dentelles” wines (not on offer here but will be in the future) are their individual barrel selections from the best parcels, and is higher priced. What we’re offering is the “Tradition” which is their go-to Gigondas that is consistently awesome for enjoying NOW as opposed to ten years down the road.

This has become a go-to wine for us over the last five years. Pitch-perfect wine to have with winter beef stew!

72% Grenache. 23% Syrah, 3% Mourvedre, 2% Cinsault.

21 day fermentation, 8 months in oak.

Beautiful garnet color, clear and bright; the nose has notes of clove, licorice, ripe berries and plum; the mouth is concentrated, with fine tannins. It’s really good now and will continue to be spectacular for the next 10 years.

Domaine de Durban Gigondas 2019

Domaine de Durban is a third generation winery located in the heart of Gigondas, where they farm roughly 14 acres of vineyard. Their family history in the region goes WAY back, and they represent the ‘old guard’ in many ways: small family, small farm, everything done by hand, quality always comes first.

70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, aged in concrete vats, resulting in an Uber-pure style of wine that is both powerful and fresh. This, along with Font-Sane, are textbook Gigondas to give you a solid sense of the area and style.

From the importer’s website (Kermit Lynch Wine Merchants):

To walk through the high-altitude vineyards at Domaine de Durban is to walk through an astounding span of history. On the site of a former Roman healing springs destination, a mere handful of soil reveals well-preserved, ancient Roman roof tiles and medieval pot shards. The domaine and its vineyards sit atop a picturesque plateau in the Vaucluse, sheltered by the Dentelles de Montmirail, just above the village of Beaumes-de-Venise. The scenic views put one at pause considering the timelessness—wine has been a part of the culture here for millennia, and ancient philosopher Pliny the Elder was the first known to praise the Muscat from this place.

During the Middle Ages, it was a fortified farm, where it has run regularly since 1159. Jacques Leydier bought the property in the 1960s when the farm had fallen into disrepair. Today, his grandsons, Henri and Philippe, are running the domaine.

This magical spot has assumed a higher purpose today, producing some of the most memorable wines of the Southern Rhône. The Leydiers farm fifty-five hectares of vineyards to make a powerful and aromatic Gigondas, a velvety Beaumes-de-Venise Rouge, and undeniably the most celebrated Muscat in the entire appellation.



It’s cold outside. A beef stew is in order. Below is one of the simplest and most delicious beef stew recipes we have ever come across. We found it, in all places, in a Dungeons and Dragons cookbook that we gave Spencer for his birthday a couple years ago. Every single recipe in that book has been fantastic, and this is one of the best. It’s so amazingly easy and tasty.

There is something magical and primal about Gigondas with beef stew in the winter in Minnesota. If you buy some bottles and have some sitting around during the summer, it’s equally good with a burger or a steak on the grill. In fact, I think one of the best combinations with these wines would be an Impossible Burger with some earthy alpine cheese added. The combo of the mushroom/plant-based burger with the earthy cheese would be PERFECT with these wines!

Both are limited in availability and these prices are the best you’ll ever find.

Thank you, everyone! We couldn’t do this without you!

Jason Kallsen
Sommelier and founder/owner of Twin Cities Wine Education

This offer has ended. Thank you for your interest.

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