MCF Rare Wine
Syrah, Southern Style
When the words 'Syrah' and 'Rhône' are spoken together these days, most people instantly attach the word 'Northern' to the front of it.
With the explosion of adoration for the feral, rustic wines of the Northern Rhone over the last decade or so, I feel it can be easy to forget that, yes, the Southern Rhône is also quite capable with Syrah, as well.
Certainly, the expression of the grape is different down South, but...well...
...that's the whole point, eh?
And, while I certainly have an affinity for classic Southern Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre, etc., anytime I taste a well made Côtes du Rhône that's predominantly (or fully) comprised of Syrah, I get a bit excited.
So, last week, when I tasted today's two wines, it stood to reason, I suppose, that I got a bit excited.
Domaine de Ferrand has sort of become a keystone producer here at MCF over the last five years or so. We love the work they do with Grenache in their ultra-classic Châteauneuf du Pape, for sure, but the wine that really opened my eyes to their brilliance is the Côtes du Rhône La Ferrande.
This awesome little wine is 100% Syrah, and is one that winemaker Philippe Bravay cares deeply for. He knows that Syrah can easily over ripen, so he he's very meticulous about when he picks. This 2018 is lovely - it's smoky and fragrant, with a slightly more linear/elegant profile. Underneath the gorgeous dark fruits, there are nice hints at all the leathery, meaty nuance you expect from the region, but with that lovely, fragrant and smoky edge you expect from Syrah.
This 2018 will actually benefit nicely from a year or three in the cellar.
To contrast that, we have the Gigondas-based producer Saint Damien, another affordable gem that we've become more and more in love with over the last few years.
The Côtes du Rhône Le Bouveau is about 80% Syrah, with the rest being mostly Cinsault. What really makes it lovely, though, is the addition of a bit of Viognier, which takes both the aromatics and complexity on the palate to another level entirely. It's dark, mineral and quite savory, but is also intensely perfumed and lively.
Even though the focus is on the dark fruit, the overtly savory and wild character of the Syrah and the fragrant profile from the Viognier actually give this wine a bit of a Northern accent, if you will.
Those who appreciate the animale of the North, will really appreciate this one, especially on day two, when those elements really come out.
Again, as good as it is now, it'll be in a real nice place in a year or two.
Two great ways to enjoy Syrah...Southern style...
DOMAINE de FERRAND
Côtes du Rhône La Ferrande 2018
DOMAINE SAINT DAMIEN
Côtes du Rhône La Bouveau 2019
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MCF Rare Wine, Ltd
249 West 13th Street NYC 10011