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Jean-Michel Stephan Cote Rotie 2009

Syrah/Shiraz from Cote Rotie, Rhone, France
  • WS94
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Winemaker Notes

#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.

Critical Acclaim

WS 94
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.

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Jean-Michel Stephan

Domaine Jean-Michel Stephan

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Domaine Jean-Michel Stephan, , France - Rhone
Jean-Michel Stephan
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.

South Africa

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An underappreciated wine-producing country currently undergoing a renaissance...

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An underappreciated wine-producing country currently undergoing a renaissance, South Africa has a surprisingly long and rich history considering its status as part of the “New World” of wine. In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century. Today, however, it is increasingly responsible for high-quality wines that are helping to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot, but the Benguela current from Antarctica provides the brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening. Similarly, cooler high-elevation vineyard sites offer climatic diversity.

South Africa’s wine regions are divided into region, then smaller districts, and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for earthy, gamey reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following behind.

Other Red Blends

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With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from...

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With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

AWAStpdd09c_2009 Item# 112782

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