Lucky is the person who shares a meal with famille Giraud. Mireille, the matriarch of the family, is a superb […]Keep Reading
Lucky is the person who shares a meal with famille Giraud. Mireille, the matriarch of the family, is a superb cook and an efficient manager of the Domaine, possessing a thorough knowledge of the village’s complex genealogies. Pierre, the founder of the estate and husband of Mireille, is a natural raconteur with fascinating theories on the proper manner in which to hunt wild boar. Their son, François, the viticulturist is also an avid, extreme-distance runner, and Marie, the daughter, is an enormously talented winemaker and voice of reason who keeps everyone on track. Wines and conversation are free-flowing and delightful, and if you’re truly blessed, you will be served one of the best Blanquette de Veau in all of France.
Domaine Giraud is a fairly young estated founded in 1974 by Pierre and Mireille. Pierre comes from a long line of vignerons and is a sixth-generation winegrower in the village. His mother was a member of the Armenier family, making Pierre a descendant of one of the oldest families in the village and a cousin to Sophie and Catherine at Domaine Marcoux. Mireille was born into the Buou family, which ran the local distillery in Châteauneuf-du-Pape – a vital part of the social and economic fabric of the community for over a century. Sadly, the distillery closed several decades ago, but the old building still survives on the outskirts of the village, re-purposed in 1981 to house Domaine Giraud’s cellars.
Beginning with only 4 hectares of leased vineyards, the estate has slowly grown to encompass 30 hectares, mostly in Châteauneuf-du-Pape with a small plot of 60-year-old Grenache and some leased vines of Mourvèdre & Syrah in Lirac. They farm several terroirs, most notably the red clay and gravelly soils of Les Galimardes and Le Crau, but they also have vines in Les Terres Blanches (pale limestone) and Pignan (sand). There is a high proportion of old vine Grenache throughout their holdings.
François Giraud farms the vineyards at Domaine Giraud organically, with the property receiving certification (ECOCERT) in 2011. Vineyard work is done meticulously and manually, including the harvest, which is conducted in two passes, ensuring that only the best fruit reaches the chai. Most of the vineyards are quite close to the cellar, so the grapes arrive fresh, where the whites are sorted and whole-cluster pressed while the reds are sorted and destemmed. Fermentation for the wines takes place in stainless steel tanks and concrete vats of various sizes. Les Galimardes Blanc is an exception with the Roussanne portion of this cuvée fermented and aged in demi-muid. Apart from the Syrah, which is aged in demi-muid, all the reds at Domaine Giraud are aged in concrete tanks. The two entry-level Châteauneufs, Prémices and Tradition, are blends from several terroirs while Les Gallimardes and Grenaches de Pierre come from old-vines on singular terroirs – red clay and galets for the former and sand for the later. In difficult vintages, it is not uncommon for the family to skip one or both of these cuvées to bolster the quality of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape Tradition.Close