Product information

Moulin de la Gardette ‘Ventabren’ 2018

Rhône Blend from Southern Rhône, Rhône Valley, Gigondas, France


$147ea in any 3+
$140ea in any 6+
Closure: Cork


Jean-Baptiste Meunier’s Gigondas wines, from the land where Grenache is King, have an intensity and flavour that are distinctly their own. Moulin de la Gardette sits firmly in Gigondas’ 1st Division.

An extra layer of flavour & complexity over the ‘Tradition’. The 18’s are bolder, darker than the 19’s. A little fruit cake here, not at all jammy, five spice, tobacco, flowers, progressing well past bubble gum to a more sophisticated blackberry fruit. Excellent tannins with depth. Persistence of fruit, length, lingering rosewater and musk, balanced and complete. This is an impressive showing with excellent harmony and so much intrigue.

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Check out all of the wines by Moulin de la Gardette

Why is this Wine so Yummy?

About Moulin de la Gardette

Jean-Baptiste Meunier is the fifth generation winemaker behind the great property of Moulin de la Gardette in the Rhône region of Gigondas. The region itself has stepped out of the shadow of neighbouring Châteauneuf du Pape, creating wines of intensity and flavour that are distinctly their own. Gigondas has more south facing slopes and higher elevations as well as varied soils that help distinguish the region.

Gigondas vineyards have been producing wine since Roman times. The name of the village in Roman times was “Jocunditas”, Latin for “Happy Town” – surely an accolade to those early winemakers! Back in 1670 the Archives de Rochegude noted the quality of the vineyards on the stony hill of la Gardette just outside the village of Gigondas, so it is no surprise that the Meunier family has been making good wine here for five generations.

Until the middle part of the twentieth century the slopes of la Gardette were not devoted solely to vines as they are now but grew olives, apricot and cherries, and even the Jurdic family goats grazed there. What little wine was produced was usually sold to negotiants, probably finding its way into the wines of nearby Chateauneuf du Pape.

In 1946 Victor Jurdic was in the vanguard of those winemakers who knew that Gigondas wines could establish a reputation of their own, and produced the first wines to be bottled under the la Gardette name. The appellation Moulin de la Gardette first appeared in 1958 after Geneviève Jurdic married Laurent Meunier who came from a struggling artistic and literary family in Paris. The “moulin” refers to the old windmill that once stood on the hill of la Gardette; however, although now millers by name, the Meunier – Jurdic families never worked the old mill which was, in fact, a wind-powered forge making horseshoes and tools, not flour or olive oil, as one might suppose.

Geneviève and Laurent at la Gardette in the 50’s

The vines of la Gardette made fine Gigondas wine and, as the enterprise prospered, the Meunier family added other plots of land close around la Gardette. Nowadays, Jean Baptiste Meunier who took over the family business in 1990 tends mature vines with an average age of around 65 years in twenty-five different parcels of Gigondas garrigue.

In the Vineyard

Instagram is a most revealing source of information. Scrolling through Moulin de la Gardette’s feed you quickly notice almost all of the posts are in the vineyard. I reckon that’s a pretty good quality indicator!

Moulin de la Gardette is a small 10ha family owned property in Gigondas with vineyards stretching from the plateau close to the village to the foothills of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains.

Most of the vineyards face northwest, a cooler orientation than south facing vineyards, at elevations from 100m to 300m above sea level.

7ha are planted to Grenache and 3ha to other Southern Rhone varieties, Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault. The average age of the vines is 50years, but the oldest plantings now date back over a hundred years. The Grenache vines are mostly bush or ‘goblet’ trained, while some are staked for ‘vertical shoot positioning’ (VSP) training.

The various plots offer differing aspects and a variety of soil types, all are dry, forcing the vine roots to search deeply for moisture and bring up the rich mixture of mineral nutrients that add such complexity and character to the Gigondas terroir. Here, on the mountain edges of the southern Rhone valley, the Mistral sweeps the air clean almost every day of the year and brings relief from the fierce summer sun.

On the left below a vineyard with more limetstone / rock and in centre and right a slightly sandier site. Images by Moulin de la Gardette.

Yields are low in such conditions, only 27hl/ha is the result of typically dry growing conditions in the southern Rhône valley in the path of the relentless mistral wind.

The hard work in the stony vineyards is rewarded by deliciously concentrated flavours in the wine.

Since 2000 we have employed organic viticulture with minimal use of copper and pesticides to enhance soil microbiological activity and express the best of our terroir.

In the Winery

Jean Baptiste Meunier, owner and winemaker, studied traditional winemaking techniques in Carcassonne in 1982 and after graduation gained further practical experience working in California’s Napa Valley as well as Chateauneuf du Pape and Gigondas back in France. He is following his family tradition, with a modern twist, minimal intervention with careful attention.

Their philosophy is to let the grapes and the terroir express themselves.

Harvest usually takes place at the end of September and the wines ferment through to the end of October.

All grapes are hand harvested and hand sorted again at the winery to select only the highest quality. Some grape bunches are destemmed, but most are left whole with stems intact, only natural wild yeasts are used to ferment the wine. The alcoholic fermentation and a long post-fermentation maceration take place in cement tanks which provide more stable fermentation temperatures and allow a little oxygen to penetrate through to the wine.

Élévage’, or maturation, of the wine is done in big 50 hl oak foudres are as well as small 228l Burgundian old oak barrels.

The Cuvée Ventabren

A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault from the property’s oldest vines, ranging from 80 to 100 years of age. All fermentation is done in cement tanks and the wine is aged for 18 months in large oak foudres.

Varieties: 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Cinsault. Age of vines: 80-100 years. Vinification: Grapes are handpicked, partially destemmed, vinified in cement tanks where a long post fermentation maceration takes place. The wine is aged for 18 months in big foudres. Light filtration is done just before bottling.

The “Tradition” 

A blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah from vines averaging in age of 40 years. It is aged for about 18 months in mostly used foudre and demi-muid before bottling.

Varieties: 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah. Age of vines: 40 years. Vinification: Grapes are handpicked, partially destemmed, vinified in cement tanks where a long post fermentation maceration takes place. The wine is aged for 18 months in 228 l Burgundy barrels. Light filtration is done just before bottling.


A bit about Gigondas


Gigondas is one of six village districts that for almost eight centuries formed the principality of Orange. In former times it was overseen by the capital of Carpentras, but today Gigondas retains few links with its past administrator. A few documents, fortified city walls (much of which are still visible), the vestiges of the castle and the village’s coat-of-arms emblazoned with the horn of Prince Guillaume of Orange are the remaining traces that bear witness to this past.


Gigondas is subject to the region’s contrasting climate of hot summers and strong, cold, northwesterly Mistral winds. The area is hot and dry, receiving some 2,800 hours of sun a year.

The turbulent geology of the Dentelles de Montmirail, which lies at the heart of the appellation, results in the varied orientation and sun exposure of its vineyards. The sharp ridges also create a microclimate with advantageous effects on the terroir’s wines. The abrupt peaks that jut out of the plain generate updrafts and downdrafts that moderate excessive temperatures. The morning sunlight limited by the Dentelles de Montmirail. The west–northwest orientation of the majority of the area’s vineyards keeps the vines well ventilated, protects them from excessive summer heat.

These cooling micro-climates lengthen the ripening period allowing tannins and flavours to fully develop whilst retaining acidity and keeping alcohol levels under control. Here it is possible to make wines of elegance and subtlety.

In the images below you can see the Dentelles shading a valley (left) and even a small outcrop shading a terraced vineyard (right). Click an image to enlarge🔎

Grape Varieties

The maximum permitted yield of the Gigondas appellation (36 hl/ha) is one of the lowest in France.


Grenache is king of the grape varieties in Gigondas contributing 70-80% of the blend for the region. In Gigondas, it can be sophisticated and elegant, dare I say Burgundian in nature with long fine tannins.


Used to a lesser extent, Syrah boosts the colour, adds richness and brings a certain aromatic intensity.


Mourvèdre enhances the spicy, aromatic complexity typical of Gigondas wines, adding perfume of flowers and violets, and a little structure.

Pictures courtesy of one of Gigondas great vignerons, Moulin de la Gardette.

Other Varieties

Cinsault, Clairette and a few Terret Noir, Counoise and Picardan vines are also found here.

The Wines

Blending these varieties gives the wines of Gigondas their highly nuanced, complex range. Each producer carefully crafts their wine in their own way, vinifying grape varieties separately or together, partially or totally destemmed, with maceration periods of 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the vintage and the choice of the individual grower.

The diversity of sites, soils, micro-climates and winemaking offers us a spectrum of styles from Burgundian to bold and structured.


The film 🎥 below explores a year in Gigondas. A few things to note: the use of large old oak, at around 2 minutes in you can see the shadows of the imposing Dentelles cast over a vineyard, the cooling effect has a slows ripening and in the right hands offers wines of freshness and energy. You’ll see the incredible diversity of sites from terraced hillsides to gentle slopes / flats on the plateau. Viticultural practices vary from bush vines to trellised rows.

In the film 🎥 below the geology of Gigondas is explored. The impact of soil type and shade from the Dentelles on wine styles shapes the wines of Gigondas.

Pierre Le Hongs epic exploration of the Gigondas through the Southern Rhône adds great context to the region. You’ll see how several key soil types progress through the village and just how different they are from sand to pebbles.

The 2018 Vintage at Moulin de la Gardette

A great vintage offering the perfect combination of wine growing expertise and nature’s blessing
December 2017 marked the end of one of the driest years we have ever experienced. 2018 kicked off with a very significant shortfall of water but fortunately, January witnessed some substantial rainfall before a cold, dry February.

From March onwards, the weather switched to particularly unusual conditions for Gigondas. It rained frequently, virtually every other day, setting the tempo for spring until mid-June. The incredibly hot temperatures created the perfect set of ingredients for promoting unprecedented fungal pressure. Downy mildew rapidly caused damage to the foliage and from the beginning of June, the fungus developed on the clusters. This widespread attack would subsequently have an impact on the crop. The fall in yields was fairly uneven and Gigondas was moderately affected compared to some neighbouring wine regions. Ironically, flowering, which occurred simultaneously with this, went well.

Next came a very dry summer, when temperatures soared. With a few exceptions, the vineyards of Gigondas did not suffer any water stress, and managed to hold out well until rain fell on August 9 (100 mm). Nevertheless, the benefit of the rain was tangible on the fruit which rapidly increased in volume. At this stage, the vintage was top-notch, but remained fragile. Fortunately, the following weeks were perfectly dry. This year, we had to be attentive and particularly patient in order to pick perfectly ripe grapes.

Most Gigondas grapes were picked between September 15 and October 5, though harvesting continued through to October 19 in the latest-ripening areas.

The wines are structured, elegant and balanced. Their bouquet is precise and expressive and the tannins very ripe. Such great balance makes the 2018s accessible and compelling, while preserving Gigondas’ hallmark complexity and powerfulness.

2018 enables Gigondas to prove once again how consistent and stable its vineyard sites are.

Copyright : Laurent Philis – Philis Œnologie à Gigondas

Where in the World is Moulin de la Gardette?

Moulin de la Gardette is in Gigondas in the Southern Rhône Valley. The main vineyard site, La Gardette, lies immediately to the west of the township of Gigondas.

Map of the Gigondas Wine Region
Click to enlarge 🔎
Click to enlarge 🔎


96 Points

This is deep, vinous and driving, chock full of fruity berry acidity. It’s really vibrant, with a subtle mineral seam and stalks that work well here, lending fragrance but without contributing hardness or astringency. It’s generous with a very long finish but not excessive - balanced and drinkable, but don't underestimate its ageing capacity. A selection of the oldest vines of the estate (65 to 115-years-old), organically grown on sandstone and marl, handpicked, whole-bunch fermented with indigenous yeasts and bottled without filtration or fining after maturing in old foudres and demi-muids. (MW) (9/2019)


91-94 Points

From vines 80 to 100 years old, the 2018 Gigondas Ventabren is similar in style to the Tradition but slightly more concentrated and tannic. Pretty aromas of fines herbes, rose petals and orange zest join ripe cherries on the nose, while the full-bodied palate is creamy in texture, fading elegantly into a long, silky finish. (JC) (8/2019)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

91 Points

The more limited production cuvée, the 2018 Gigondas Ventabren is actually cut from the same cloth as the traditional cuvée, revealing a light ruby, translucent color, and an incredibly Provençal bouquet of kirsch, white pepper, dried herbs, and floral aromas and flavors. Picking up more pepper and spice with time in the glass, it’s medium to full-bodied and has a seamless, elegant texture, ripe tannins, and a good finish. Both of these wines show incredibly Provençal, elegant, complex profiles. 91+ (10/2020)

Jeb Dunnuck

91 Points

Rich and alluring, with a smoky Lapsang souchong tea note weaving around a core of crushed black cherry, plum and anise flavors. Dense but silky in feel, featuring a long, smoldering finish. (JM) (7/2014)

Wine Spectator

Where in the world does the magic happen?

Moulin de la Gardette, Place Gabrielle Andéol, Gigondas, France

Southern Rhône
Rhône Valley