Given the historically high interest in 'natural' products of all types, it's no surprise that wines made with lower than normal levels of sulphites would begin to develop a following. This is especially true in France, where a handful of talented young winemakers are producing some of the most exciting wines in their appellations by taking a 'non-intervention' approach to winemaking. It's a high stakes gamble that requires enormous attention to detail, along with a fresh approach to traditional cellar practices. One of the acknowledged leaders of the movement is Thierry Allemand of Cornas, whose 'Cuvée Spécial' Cornas is thought to be the benchmark example of Northern Rhône Syrah. Allemand has kindly shared his winemaking ideas with us over the years, encouraging us to try these techniques with our Syrah. We have recognized his role by naming the resulting wine 'Cuvée d'Honneur'. In 2005, our Cuvée d'Honneur Syrah took a dramatic step forward in both complexity and intensity. The production remains small, by necessity -- less than 10 barrels. The aroma is a striking combination of multiple spices, with earthy tones of bacon fat and leather. The real charm, though, is the underlying fruit. Big, grapey and supple, this wine is a textbook example of the heights reachable with old world technique and new world fruit.
The Wine AdvocateThe beautiful 2005 Syrah Cuvee d'Honneur boasts a deep, dense ruby/purple color to the rim as well as a rich, sumptuous perfume of charcoal, graphite, blackberries, pepper, flowers, and roasted meats. A beautiful texture, medium to full body, good underlying acidity, and admirable freshness and purity suggest it will provide immense pleasure over the next 7-8 years. Range: 90-92
International Wine CellarGood medium red. Restrained but nuanced aromas of raspberry, smoked meat and woodsmoke, with a sweet peppery element. Juicy, spicy and densely packed, showing more lift than the "regular" bottling from Hudson Vineyards. Not at all a weighty style, but peppery, smoky and quite complex. The inclusion of the stems contributes to the wine's spice character and firm tannic spine. The pH here, notes winemaker Ehren Jordan, is 4.1, but the wine has no shortage of energy.
Connoisseurs' GuideIf not as heavy and dramatically sized as past Neyers' efforts, this very keenly focused wine combines clear varietal spice and gamy notes in aromas that are nicely supported by well-proportioned blackberry and spice notes. It is fairly full and supple in its early palatal impacts and sports good balance from front to back, and it keeps its tannins comfortably in check while still showing the strength of structure for aging.
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