This Vieilles Vignes Côte-Rôtie this is Syrah as it should be, at least as defined by the variety’s spiritual home in France’s Northern Rhône: gently medium-bodied, with a tensile peppery freshness lifting aromas of lilac florals, smoked meat, iodine-nori, blueberry, Asian spice, orange zest and apricot pith, the latter attesting to a dollop of Viognier in the blend. The oak effortlessly frames the crescendo of flavours, serving as an adjunct rather than a scream. This is the sort of Syrah that is near-impossible to craft in Australia where sugar ripening outpaces phenolic maturity and alcohol soars. Côte-Rôtie (roasted slope) sees gradual ripening of fruit to facilitate the sort of attenuated tannins that define the world’s best wines. This, no exception.
"Opaque ruby. Deeply pitched, mineral-accented aromas of blackberry, cherry pie and violet are complemented by a suave suggestion of exotic spices. Sappy and alluringly sweet, offering palate-staining black/blue fruit, floral pastille and spicecake flavors and a subtle hint of salty olive. Finishes sweet, seamless and extremely long, displaying sharply delineated mineral and floral pastille notes and steadily building tannins. (all whole clusters)"
94-95 Points, Vinous (February 2019)
"100% Sérine clone (more than 60 years old). 100% stems. Fruit from Landonne, Lancement and Chavaroche. 12 months in new- and one-year-old oak plus a further 12 months in foudres (Tronçais and Allier).
Deep purple. What a contrast to the regular Côte Rôtie 2017 from this producer! Very intense and savoury – like essence of the appellation. Juicy and salty with very intense, super-appetising fruit in the middle. Very glamorous and ambitious. Excellent freshness and structure. A very serious wine that delivers a great deal of pleasure."
17.5 points, JancisRobinson.com (September 2018)
"100% Syrah. Cask sample.
Tasted blind. Rubbery reduction on the nose, but loads of pure black fruit and peppery spice on the palate. Once the reduction dissipates, there is a beautiful wine in waiting, with excellent concentration of blackcurrant fruit and superb spicing."
16.5++ points, JancisRobinson.com (November 2018)
"Vivacious, with vivid plum, cassis and anise notes racing through, flecked by mouthwatering tapenade and bay leaf accents. Reveals a floral lift in the background and a bolt of iron on the finish."
96 points, Wine Spectator (2020)
The Vieilles Vignes is a blend of three exceptional Côte Brune terroirs: La Landonne, Lancement and Chavaroche. This sees no destemming, and spends 12 months in new and one-year-old barrels, then a further 12 months in foudre. It has a gorgeous smoky black olive nose, with some fire-singed rosemary. On the palate It shows exceptional balance and freshness. It's not the most concentrated, perhaps, but is so drinkable, dynamic and complex. Its intense lifted freshness, vibrant acid line and fine-grained tannins all come together on a long, focussed finish.
96 points, Matt Walls, Decanter (November 2018)