Wine lovers whose experience with this estate's wines is based on those produced in the late 1980s and 1990s are in for a shock if they revisit Yves Gras's more recent work. While these are undoubtedly among the most powerful wines produced as Gigondas, the oak presence, weight and ripeness that marked many bottlings of the past have been dialed back quite a bit. Not so much that fans of the old style should freak out, but definitely to an extent that wine lovers who typically steer clear of brawny southern Rhônes will be pleasantly surprised.
Gigondas-based Yves Gras has quietly grown his holdings in Châteauneuf du Pape to six hectares, from which he's producing four separate cuvées. I'm sure it will hurt some feelings to say an outsider like Gras is producing some of the most compelling examples of Châteauneuf du Pape, but keep in mind these are generally tiny-production gems and not easy to track down.
Under Benjamin Gras’ direction, the wines at this venerable domaine have never been better. Santa Duc started off at a high point thanks to the hard work of Benjamin’s father, Yves. The wines now are more graceful and detailed than in the past, but they are definitely not lightweights. Based in Gigondas, the specialty, the estate also works in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and owns a mere 1.3 hectares in Vacqueyras.