We felt like drinking a solid autumn wine. It must be our internal system, preconditioned to the European seasons. Autumn storms, falling temperatures and pouring rain all call for dark red, serious wines. A bit silly of course, now the lovely Omani winter weather finally seems to come around, but we couldn't help ourselves. We chose a red wine from the southern-rhône in France: Paul Jaboulet Aîné Gigondas 'Pierre Aiguille' 2006 (OUA – 14.900 OMR).
Gigondas is one of the classic wine appelations in France. The wines are usually robust, spicy and full of dark red fruit. They show similarities to the wines of nearby Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but are less expensive, and therefore good value for money.
OUA stocks several wines from the renowned Rhône producer Paul Jaboulet Aîné, who makes wine all over the region. The house has been around for almost two centuries, and was run as a family business until 2004, when the family decided to sell the business to the Frey's (another famous French wine family, owner of Billecart-Salmon in Champagne and Château La Lagune in Bordeaux). For wine lovers, this take-over was good news, because the spirit seemed to be gone for quite a while, and the wines of Jaboulet hadn't lived up to their reputation since the late 1990's.
The wines of 2006 were the first that were completely made by the new team. Blessed with a very good vintage, the wines make a good impression. The Gigondas 'Pierre Aiguille' is a medium bodied wine, with good fruit (blackcurrant, dark cherries and strawberries), licorice and bay leaf. Its high alcohol level (14,5%) is slightly distracting, but not too much. There is enough stuffing and complexity to make it stand out above the average. It should be capable of ageing for a couple of years, but is also perfectly drinkable now. The price (14.900 OMR) is a bit steep, but compared to other wines locally available, still worth it. It would also be a good choice in a restaurant, as this wine is makes a great combination to strong meat, such as beef tenderloin, or lamb stew.
If you have problems paying this kind of money for a bottle of wine, you could opt for the more affordable Côte du Rhône 'Parallèle 45', which is perfectly acceptable, although a bit on the lean and simple side. Our preference would be to pay a few rials extra. It gives you the sense of autumn, without having to stand the rain. Not so bad, is it?