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Domaine St Damian

The domain is located in the tiny hamlet, La Baumette, in the Gigondas appellation in the heart of the Rhône Valley. It was established in 1996 by Joel Saurel, whose family have been farming vineyards here since 1821, but had previously sold their grapes to négociants. Joel brought in the legendary oenology consultant Philippe Cambie, and now Joel's son Romain is the winemaker. In La Baumette there was a chapel dedicated to Saint Damian, considered to be the patron saint of doctors, surgeons, pharmacists and twins, and in 1979 Joel's ancestors named the domaine in honour of the saint. Damien combines tradition with new farming technologies and has followed integrated farming principles since the onset, with organic agriculture certification in 2012. 17 hectares are under vine, 12 in Gigondas and 5 in the Plan de Dieu appellation. The average age of the vines is 55 years. Parcels are organized according to soil type and, due to the variation of terroir in the Gigondas appellation, they have developed their own “Saint Damian Trilogy”. Vines for Traditional Vintage wines are grown on stony soils with sediments; for the Louisiane wines the soils are red alluvial with broken stones, and for the Souteyrades wines the soils are clayey. The vines for their Cote du Rhône are planted in the Plan de Dieu appellation, with the commune of Violes supplying the grapes for their Vieilles Vignes planted on limy soils, and for La Bouveau on fluvial soils. Vinification is traditional, with wines ageing in concrete tanks or large old foudres. Domaine Saint Damian are regarded as one of the top producers in Gigondas, producing some of the most elegant and rich wines in the appellation. These are good value high-end wines, wonderfully concentrated and complex.