Fabulous Syrah from Drinkable to Collectible

by Russ Anderson on October 30, 2017

c1Along the steep, narrow valley that traces the northern Rhône, the appellations of Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu and Saint-Joseph take their place among the great wine regions of France. Here Domaine Faury is one of the region’s most artisanal producers. Philippe Faury took control of the winery in 1979 and grew it to 11 hectares. Since 2006, his son Lionel has taken over the reins at Domaine Faury, though father and son still work side by side.

The steep slopes of the northern Rhône present a challenging terrain where farming is only feasible through terracing. On these terraced slopes, the Faurys’ vines take full advantage of the southern and southeastern sun exposure, benefitting from optimum ripening. A combination of the predominately granitic soil, partial de-stemming (in about 70% of the grapes), soft crushing of the grapes with a pneumatic press, and temperature controlled fermentation offer a liveliness and freshness that one does not often find in wines from the northern Rhône. There’s a real attention to detail here, with pigeage, the punching of the cap, is not carried out with tools, but gently by foot – not just poetic but also pragmatic.

Unlike many other vignerons in the region, the Faurys have a strong aversion to new oak. Though the reds definitely see time in barrels, there is a rotation between new and old alike, along with a variety of sizes, ranging from the smaller barriques to the larger 600-liter demi-muids. Unfined and only lightly filtered before bottling, these wines are loaded with classic flavors and show a remarkable rustic elegance.

If you like Syrah, you owe it to yourself to try some from the Northern Rhone. This region is renowned around the world for producing some of the finest Syrah based wines and establishing a baseline for finesse and richness.

c2Syrah – Collines Rhodaniennes 2016
This bottle is an incredible value and a great introduction to the wines of the Northern Rhone with. It is a wine to buy and drink in a shorter time frame while waiting for St Joesph and Cote-Roties to age.

Bright red fruits, soft texture and hints of brambly flowers all intermixed. A key to the elegance of the wine is the vineyard location, higher up the slopes that border the Rhone river here.
Syrah – Collines Rhodaniennes – $22 a bottle, 5 cases available.

ImprimerSt Joseph 2015
St Joseph is one of the larger regions in the Northern Rhone, so the wines are frequently seen. This frequency means it is important to know who the better producers are to help insure the quality of the wine.

The Faurys craft delicious wines at all levels and this wine shows the importance of location in St Joseph. The wine’s fruit grows on steep hill sides, up to 35% grade that face south and south east. This optimizes ripeness of fruit and balance. As well, there is some stem inclusion, usually between 30% and 40%. This year, due to the quality of the fruit it was 50%. The wine has a very soft and elegant mouthfeel full of ripe blue fruits and notes of cocoa and crushed stone. $32 a bottle, 3 cases available.

c4Cote Rotie 2015
This is a classic wine, blending three terrors within the Cote Brune as well as including 10% Viogner, for additional aromatics. The Viogner and Syrah are both co-planted and co-fermented. 70% of the grapes are destemmed.

The mouthfeel on this wine is amazingly plush and velvety. The nose and palate both have some of the floral sanguine notes of Syrah with purple violets in the back ground. For those who know Northern Rhone Syrah, this wine is meaty in all the best possible ways. This wine will cause you a tug of war as it is so approachable now but you know it will evolve beautifully in the bottle over the next 5 years. Reward your patience and the wine will last for more than a decade. $63 a bottle, 2 cases available.

c5Cote Rotie – Emporium 2014
As noted, Cote Rotie can be some of the most elegant Syrah produced in the world. Wines from this steeply sloped region really can take on characteristics of Pinot Noir from the regions northern neighbor, Burgundy.

This bottle takes Syrah to a truly impressive level. In addition, this bottling is the single wine on the trip that elicited a collective “wow” from the group. This wine will perturb you as you could get full enjoyment from just smelling it and never sipping, but that would be a shame.

It is sourced solely from he Fourvier lieu-dit in Cote-Rotie. The fruit is hand harvest and 50% is de-stemmed. Simply stunning with notes of sassafras, cardamon and other exotic spices dancing among a forest of blue fruits. I consider the quality offered here a value even at the price. Cote-Rotie “Emporium” 2014 – $84 – 6 bottles available

If you want to gain an appreciation of Northern Rhone Syrah and the fabulous elegant deep fruit it offers, this is a great producer to explore. Each wine is delicious in its own right but you can taste the impact of terroir as you move from one to another. Again, this would make a great tasting with some leg of lamb and a group of friends.

6 Pack Special Offer – Buy 3 Syrah Collines Rhodannienes, 2 St Joseph and one Cote-Rotie and receive the normal case discount of 10%.

We look forward to helping you find some delicious wines for your next meal or event.

Featured Wines in the Store

by Russ Anderson on October 30, 2017

c1Casaccia Spumante
This is a gorgeous wine year in and year out. It offers so much artisanal quality it is hard to believe it is so inexpensive. I am thrilled to have it back on the shelf. Casaccia Spumante is 100% Chardonnay. This is a Blanc de Blanc from Italy’s Piedmont region. The wine is raised in the same fashion as Champagne; hand riddling and all. The labor intensive process keeps the yearly production low, but insures the high level of quality. I may not know a better value sparkling.

This years version is a blanc de blanc for those who enjoy a bright and uniquely enticing floral note in the nose. It reminds me of fruit tree blossoms, perhaps pear and tangerine intermingling. The palate is rich and broad before the vibrant bubbles kick in. Dried lemon, hints of kafir lime, some marzipan paste and a refreshing minerality all dance around on the palate. As to pairings, I’m not sure where you couldn’t use this wine. Makes a very fine mid-week champagne for sure. $26

c2Bellus Falanghina
Again we dive into the trove of Italian grape varieties with this delicious Falanghina from Campania. Falanghina is gaining in popularity in the state for its versatile nature. It has a wonderful weight, reminiscent of chardonnay, but the flavors offer a touch of the exotic. The wine has great balance and offers plenty of pleasure sipping on its own, but is fine with a selection of cheeses or a light midweek meal. It pairs favorably with most fish, suiting everything from crudo to a grilled tuna steak. A unique treat at $19 a bottle.
Borgo Moncalvo Barbera Supiore

We advocate holding wines back and watching them develop over time. It is particularly appealing when the winery does this for you. Borgo Moncalvo is a family estate on a gorgeous and remote property in Italy’s Piedmont. Tucked away in a valley, they are surrounded by vines running up and down the hillsides and they are producing some fantastic wines. Each year, the quality of their wines improves and the value remains outstanding.

c3Borgo Moncalvo Barbera Superiore
This wine is made 100% from Barbera and the aromas just leap from the glass. I can almost fully enjoy the wine without drinking it, just appreciating the rich aromas in the glass. But, the flavors are equally attractive. Inky, dark, and bold in a seductive Italian sort of way, so there is elegance to the richness. Flavors or black raspberries intermingle with black cherries and black berries. A very delicious and gorgeous wine with 4 years of age, it is from the 2013 vintage! I would recommend buying this by the half case or more. You will enjoy every bottle you drink during the coming months. At $16 a bottle, it certainly over delivers.



c4Riofavara “Spaccaforno” Nero d’Avola
With all of the grapes available in Italy, you have to leave Piemonte sooner or later. Another favorite region is Sicily where this delicious bottle comes from.

The Padova family has tended vines here for almost a century, but only in 1993 did they begin bottling their own wine. They are are in south east Sicily, near the town of Avola, from which this grape gets its name – Nero d’Avola.

The nose is slightly subdued at this time but ripening nicely. Red fruits, dried cherries, hints of black raspberry intermingle enticingly. The palate is rich and bold with a velvety texture and enough weight to go with a nicely rustic Italian meal; grilled veggies, stewed beans with fennel and sun dried tomatoes, pork or fish in a tomato sauce; yum! $20.

Mix and match any 4 of these wines and get a 5% discount.

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Caviste Wine Bags

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