This is a stunning French wine made by two Irish and one Frenchman!
This stylish Côtes du Rhône that is fresh, elegant, vibrant and long; more like a Burgundy in its execution, it has made many of us look again at what is possible from the Southern Rhone. Dark berry and fruit flavours with notes of fennel and licorice. This is a delicious wine year-round, but has to be one of the most perfect accompaniments to the cool Autumns, mild Winters and damp Springs that we have here. It's also good in the Summer...
This wine is very much an Irish project, made in the Northern Gard district of the southern Rhone valley. Established in 2012 by Simon Tyrrell and Charles Derain, the estate and partnership has increased over the decade since with the arrival of Gerard Maguire. Their vineyard holding now covers over four hectares in the coolest region on the Ardèche boarder. Planted on a variety of soil types based over a limestone substructure, featuring Loess, granite, clay and loam, the vines are, on average, grown at about 220 metres above sea level. These different terroirs allow for a wonderful array of character in the grapes planted there, which are Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault for the red and Roussanne for the white.
The wine is made using just under 10% whole bunches, which adds further to the freshness of the wine, with the rest of the grapes being destemmed before fermentation in concrete tanks. The fermentation is kept at about 25 degrees - not that low, but low enough to prevent any overly extracted baked flavours from developing. Almost all of the wine undergoes malo-lactic fermentation and is aged in used 228-litre French oak barrels for added structure and refinement.
Now, if you read that wine-making description to almost anyone in France and asked them where the wine was being made, they'd tell you it was Burgundy or maybe one of the red-producing Loire zones: that's how elegant and detailed the wines are.
It's not that they are better than the rest of the Rhone, it is that they are trying to make the best from the grapes and terroir that they have. As Simon once said to us, he wanted to make a wine that reminded him of the Rhone wines he used to drink in his early days of the wine trade: they were fruity, fresh and not tiring; you could drink them for a while, get up, do something else, and not feel flattened.
This is a rather spectacular over-achievement of that goal!
Region: Rhone Valley
Grape(s): Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault
Style: Smooth, Refined, Organic, Medium Full, Elegant, Complex, Broad
Best food matches: Poultry, Lamb, Grills, Cheeses, Charcuterie, Casseroles, Beef