With an impressive resume including stints at Chateau Beaucastel, Pierre-Bise, Domaine la Janasse and Chateau Deves, Philippe Gimel founded St Jean du Barroux in 2003. Located near the ancient fortified town of Barroux, Saint-Jean du Barroux spans the valley between the lower slopes of Mont Ventoux and the Dentelles de Montmirail. Philippe’s vines are organically farmed on three unique terroirs, all eroded from bedrock dating to the Tertiary and Secondary Periods. As the elevation increases up to 400 meters the soils become rockier clay with both pale and dark sedimentary rocks. This is where Philippe grows Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Cinsault. The two terroirs here are differentiated by their rocky inclusions. La Pierre Noire, or “the black stone,” is a cuvée made from Grenache and Syrah grown on clay limestone soils marked by abrupt appearance of black gravel. So sudden and noticeable is this change in the vineyard that Philippe has always known that this site was its own cuvée.
“The 2011 Cotes du Ventoux La Pierre Noire, the top wine of the estate, is a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah that spends upwards of three years in concrete tank prior to bottling. The name La Pierre Noire (meaning “black stones”) refers to the soil type, and the vines come from black stone soils and average 40 years in age. Finesse-driven and beautifully fine and elegant, it offers up a thrilling bouquet of kirsch, dried licorice, graphite, ground pepper and hints of underbrush in its medium to full-bodied, layered and nicely concentrated personality. As is common with Philippe’s wines, it excels both for its aromatic complexity and balance as much as for its richness and power. A superb 2011, it can be consumed anytime over the coming 10-15 years.” – 93+ points, Wine Advocate