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Georges Vernay St Joseph Terres d'Encre 2012

Syrah/Shiraz from Saint-Joseph, Rhone, France
  • W&S93
  • WS91
0% ABV
  • WS92
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0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Dark red in color and with a bouquet and flavor of dark berry fruits. The mature Syrah vines give the wine the fruitiness, spicy structure and body of the grand wines of the Vernay estate.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 93
Wine & Spirits
This is knife-and-fork wine, as meaty as steak. Yet it's not at all ehavy, its dark blueberry flavors punctuated by notes of wildflowers and herbs, a cool vein of minerality running underneath it all...
WS 91
Wine Spectator
An alluring style, with incense and Earl Grey tea aromas giving way to a silky core of damson plum and cherry fruit. The fine-grained finish lets the iron and sanguine notes extend. Drink now through 2018.
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Georges Vernay

Georges Vernay

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Georges Vernay, Saint-Joseph, Rhone, France
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Condrieu is the original home of the Viognier grape, having been planted here since the Roman occupation in the third century. In 1940 it was officially made an appellation. In those early days, it was Georges Vernay and his father Francis who were instrumental in guiding the appellation into the future. Francis served as the first treasurer for the Condrieu Growers' Union and it was George who was influential in delimiting the boundaries of the appellation to ensure that only those wines from the vines planted on the steep, granite hillsides could call themselves Condrieu. In 1996, Christine Vernay took over the family domaine after her father Georges retired. Under her watch, the wines have become even more delicate and nuanced. In addition to world class Viognier, she has been crafting some of the top Côte-Rôtie here, and critics have taken notice. In 2013, Christine was given the prestigious award of "Winemaker of the Year" by Bettane & Dessauve.

A pioneer in the renewal of the Condrieu appellation, Domaine Georges Vernay has always made wines of unique style, notable for their finesse, elegance and harmony. The property has become a major emblem of Rhone Valley winegrowing, from the time when Georges Vernay saved the Condrieu appellation to the international awards earned by Christine Vernay’s Côte-Rôtie. Three generations have left the mark of the philosophy on the estate, while perpetuating its traditions in the greatest respect for both vines and winegrowers.

St.-Joseph

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Spanning the longest stretch of river in the northern Rhone—from Condrieu in the north, to Cornas in the south—the heart of St. Joseph lies directly across the Rhone River from Hermitage. While its soils are basically the same as Hermitage: granite, supplemented by sand and gravel, its east facing slope receives less sunlight than Hermitage, which causes less overall berry ripening on its Syrah vines. However, some of the best of them can rival any fine expression of Hermitage, Cote-Rotie or Cornas with concentrated black fruits, dark spices, crushed rock and violets. A general advantage of the region is that its Syrahs typically don’t need as much time in the bottle compared to a Cote-Rotie or Hermitage and are much easier on the bank account!

A textbook St. Joseph red is firm with a core of minerality that is enhanced by savory and peppery qualities. Aromas and flavors of smoke, olives, herbs, and violets are common; its wines are dense in red and black fruit.

St. Joseph is also a source of fine northern Rhone white wine. Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne grow well here and can be blended or made into single varietal wines. St. Joseph whites are full and silky with citrus, pear and pineapple flavors and a rich bouquet reminiscent of honeysuckle, toasted nuts, spice and caramel.

Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.

In the Glass

At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.

Perfect Pairings

Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.

DNSDN1110_2012 Item# 135065