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Domaine Sainte Rose Le Pinacle Syrah 2011
Le Pinacle or ‘the pinnacle’ is the highest point of the tower on the Chateau at Domaine Sainte Rose thus, symbolically, this superbly structured Syrah is the top of our red wine range. The wine is made in the Cotes Rotie style of the Rhone Valley thus the Syrah was co-fermented with 5% of the white grape variety Viognier. After gentle extraction and pressing, this wine spent twelve months ageing in French oak barrels.
Blend: 95% Syrah, 5% Viognier
The current journey is no less arduous. It began in 2002 when we, Charles and Ruth Simpson, bought the Domaine with an ambition to create outstanding wine. And we are ambitious people, each giving up high-flying careers to pursue our dream. And so far, so good, with a few bumps along the way. From our 33 hectare vineyard we have produced wines that have won critical acclaim. Jancis Robinson and Tim Atkins are but two of our admirers. You can read their reviews along with the wine medals we've won and plaudits received from other critics on the individual wine pages.
We're not ones to get into the often confusing and elevated language of wine making, but we do feel it necessary to mention our land, our terroir. The vineyard spreads from the clay/limestone soils found along the banks of the River Thongue up onto the gravelly soil of the plateau. We work entirely in the Vin De Pays or what is now Indication Geographique Protégé (IGP) system, which allows us to plant the grape varieties that we think you the customer wants. We classify all our wines as IGP Cotes de Thongue due to the situation of the Domaine right beside the river.
An extensive appellation producing a diverse selection of good-quality and value-priced wines, Languedoc-Roussillon is one of the world’s largest wine-producing region, spanning the Mediterranean coast from the Spanish border to Rhône. Languedoc forms the eastern half of the larger appellation, while Roussillon is in the west; the two actually have quite distinct personalities but are typically grouped together. Languedoc’s terrain is generally flat coastal plains, with a warm Mediterranean climate and a frequent risk of drought. Roussillon, on the other hand, is defined by the rugged Pyrenees mountains and near-constant sunshine.
Virtually every style of wine is made in this expansive region. Dry wines are often blends, and varietal choice is strongly influenced by the neighboring Rhône Valley. For reds and rosés, the primary grapes include Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre. White varieties include Grenache Blanc, Muscat, Ugni Blanc, Vermentino, Maccabéo, Clairette, Piquepoul and Bourbelenc.
International varieties are also planted in large numbers here, in particular Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In Roussillon, excellent sweet wines are made from Muscat and Grenache in Rivesaltes, Banyuls and Maury. The key region for sparkling wines here is Limoux, where Blanquette de Limoux is believed to have been the first sparkling wine made in France, even before Champagne. Crémant de Limoux is produced in a more modern style.
Marked by unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah accounts for a good deal of some of the most intense, powerful and age-worthy reds in the world. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah still achieves some of its maximum potential here, especially from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.
Syrah also plays an important component in the canonical Southern Rhône blends based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, adding color, depth, complexity and structure to the mix. Today these blends have become well-appreciated from key appellations of the New World, namely Australia, California and increasingly, with praise, from Washington.
In the Glass
Syrah typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper and even bacon, smoke or black olive. In Australia, where it goes under the name Shiraz, it produces deep, dark, intense and often, jammy reds. While Northern Rhône examples are typically less fruity and more earthy, California appears increasingly capable of either style.
Flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb, grilled meats, spareribs and hard, aged cheeses are perfect with Syrah. Blue cheeses are perfect with a dense and fruit-driven Australian Shiraz.
Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” winemakers throughout the world have adopted this synonym for Syrah when they have produced a plush and fruit forward wine made in the Australian style. As an aside, Australians are also fond of tempering their fruit-forward Shiraz by blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds depth and structure.