Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge St. Julien-en-St. Alban "Vieille Serine"


100% Syrah. From 70+ year-old vines of a old, pre-clonal variety known as "Serine", planted on a south-facing slope on granite soils in the warm St-Julien-en-St-Alban zone (in the Ardèche on the northern bank of the Ouvèze--to the west of the Rhône River, at the southern edge of the northern Rhône Valley). They are organically farmed and harvested by hand. The vinification and aging are identical to Texier's Brézème Serine bottling and thus purely expressive of the much warmer, sunnier microclimate and granite-rich St. Julien terroir: whole-cluster fermentation with indigneous yeasts and no sulfur in wooden vats with an 8-10-day maceration; no extraction technqiues, only a submerged cap for a gentle infusion of color and flavor; aging in foudres for 36-48 months on the fine lees without racking; bottling without fining or filtration and generally no sulfur.

92 points
"These are Monsieur Texier’s oldest syrah vines, as these ancient petite serine vines were planted in the 1930s. The soils in this appellation are pure granite on the west bank of the river, and Éric ferments this wine in cement and ages it fully three years in old foudres without racking prior to bottling without fining, filtration or any added SO2. The 2014 version is starting to really show some secondary layers in its superb bouquet of dark berries, spit-roasted venison, black olive, stony minerality, woodsmoke, a bit of hazelnut, pepper and lovely autumnal notes of fallen leaves. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and wide open in personality, with an excellent core of black fruit, modest tannins, lovely focus and grip and a long, complex and peppery finish. While this still has some tannin to carry it further along its path, it is really drinking so well today that it is hard to argue for deferring any gratification! 2020-2045."
John Gilman,
View From the Cellar
, November 2020

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