Jean-Michel Stephan Cote Rotie 2009
Syrah/Shiraz from Cote Rotie, Rhone, France
#90 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2011
Jean-Michel Stephan Cote-Rotie is a wine of marked class, elegance and structure. Histoically a blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Viognier, the wine comes from young vines in the Coteau de Bassenon and Les Bercheries, and aged 24 months in neutral oak.
Wine Spectator - "A hint of reduction quickly gives way here to a wild mix of bramble, steeped blackberry, roasted fig, melted licorice, tar and dark tapenade notes, which all weave together through a singed iron finish that shows serious length. Syrah with 10 percent Viognier. Best from 2012 through 2022. 100 cases imported."
Domaine Jean-Michel Stephan Winery
Former Guigal assistant Jean-Michel Stephan's modest domaine consists of eight ares of mostly old vines in various parcels on Cote Rotie's Cote Blonde, and 3.2 acres in neighboring Condrieu. His holdings include a high percentage of prized Serine, the expressive, small berry ancestor of Syrah.
The majority of the domaine's vines are in two perfectly-situated hillside lieux-dits: the Coteaux de Tupin and the Coteaux de Bassenon. Jean-Michel's home and cellar are in the tiny village of Tupin-Semons at the base of the Coteaux de Tupin. The Bassenon site is on the southern border of the appellation next to Condrieu. With the sure-footedness of a mountain goat, Jean-Michel tends these steep hillside vineyards entirely from various parcels, but he also isolates the domaine's two distinct terroirs in separate, limited production bottlings. View all Domaine Jean-Michel Stephan Wines
About Cote Rotie(cote roh-TEE)
The Rhone appellation furthest north, the translation of Cote Rotie is "roasted slope," named after the region's very steep, south facing slopes that have ideal exposure to the sun. There are two main slopes, Cote Brunes & Cote Blondes. They are just as they sound, with the darker Brunes soils consisting of rich clay and iron, producing firm and robust wine. The lighter soils of the Blondes slope contain more slate and limestone, making elegant and soft wine. Wine can be from one designated slope, or a blend of both – the label will designate which it is.
Notable FactsLike all Northern Rhone appellations, Syrah is the only grape allowed in Cote-Rotie. However, Cote-Rotie allows up to 20% of the more aromatic and elegant white grape, Viognier, to be blended into the red wines. From the Cote-Blondes slope, the grape makes no single-varietal white wines, it's only used to blend. In fact, no white wines at all come from Cote-Rotie. The reds, from both slopes, are marked for being elegant and complex, as well as ageworthy.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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