Jean-Baptiste Meunier has the air of a school master - in which case the vines are his pupils, and he nurtures them organically across his 10 hectares.
His fine estate is situated at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains, and dates back to 1670 or so. Jean-Baptiste has been in charge since 1988.
The majority of his vines are grenache (7 of the 10 hectares) while the remaining plots are planted to syrah, mourvédre and cinsault. Some of the vines, particularly the grenache, have reached 100 years of age. Such ancient plants, the Mistral wind, dry soils and the organic, indeed almost biodynamic, methods employed all conspire to result in very low yields. In such arid conditions the vines put down deep roots to seek out moisture and nutrients.
Nonetheless, Jean-Baptiste makes three Gigondas wines - Ventabren, Tradition and, from younger vines not yet ready for the top cuvées, Petite Gardette.
He sets out to let the terroir express itself rather than imposing anything on the wines. All the grapes are harvested by hand and sorted upon reaching the winery, with some being destemmed before the crush. For the fermentation only wild yeasts are used. After this the fermented must is left to macerate in the cement tanks before their elevage in a mix of 50 hectolitre foudres and a few 228-litre barriques.