Home to some of the world’s most sought-after wines, Northern Rhône is the land of Syrah. Indeed, Syrah is the sole red wine grape allowed to be planted in the region’s major appellations, and it accounts for around 95% of the region’s wines.
The climate and terroir of the Northern Rhône valley is considerably different than it’s much larger neighbor to the south. Average temperatures are much cooler and the growing season is shorter, yet its unique Mediterranean climate and steep hillside terroir are ideal for our story’s hero, Syrah. Natural moisture is added to the vines from the Rhône river. A very hot and dry wind, called La Bise, runs down the valley and into Provence where it becomes the Mistral. That wind helps to keep the grapes and vines clean and disease free.
We are pleased to offer a selection of exceptional, 100% Syrah wines from a few of Northern Rhône’s top producers. These are wines that speak of this special river valley that produces Sryah unlike any other region in the world — benchmarks by which all other Syrah-based wines are measured.
Included in Northern Rhône’s Syrah in Three Types 6-Bottle Package are two each of the following wines:
The price includes a 15% discount, tax, and delivery. We will also honor a 10% discount on any bottles you might wish to add to the package.
Some of the best values of the Northern Rhône come from Saint-Joseph and the appellation’s most complex wines are similar to those found in Côte Rôtie. For more than forty vintages, the late Georges Vernay was a towering figure in Northern Rhône, producing wines remarkable for their grace and complexity. Georges died in 2017 but had long since passed the torch to his daughter Christine Vernay. Since taking charge in 1997, she has brought the domaine to even greater heights. Christine continues with the methods developed by her father to best express the magic of the region’s wines. Yields are very low and the vineyards are organically farmed. Literally translated as “Lands of Ink” “Terre d’Encre” Saint-Joseph 2018 (Regular $77) is a wine worthy of its name. Produced from 30-year-old Syrah vines planted on granite soils in the municipality of Chavanay, it’s all meat and black cherry with a twang of acid, and a spicy licorice note on the finish.
With many vineyards in the appellation being pebble-covered terraces with granite-clay soils and a blend of sand, look to Crozes-Hermitage for amped up floral aromatics and elegance. There are few names as revered as Alain Graillot in Northern Rhône. After working with the venerable Jacques Seysses at Domaine Dujac in Burgundy, Alain came back to his home in Crozes-Hermitage to start his own domaine in 1985, and soon became known for producing some of the region’s most haunting wines from his stony, organically farmed vineyards. Alain’s sons Maxime and Antoine have been in charge since 2008, with Alain working closely alongside them to this day. Crozes-Hermitage 2018 (Regular $49) is 100% Syrah from 30+ year old vines grown in the villages of La Chene Verts. 100% whole cluster fruit is fermented in concrete with indigenous yeast and then aged in 1-3 year old barrels purchased from some of the top estates in Burgundy. Spice-accented aromas of ripe dark berries and candied violet lead to a rich and energetic sip that finishes nice and spicy.
The burliest, meatiest, and ripest wines in Northern Rhône are usually Cornas. Yet they still offer the freshness and distinct minerality that is a hallmark of the region’s Syrah. The up-and-coming, small estate of Domaine Durand consists of 54 acres of vines across the appellations of Saint-Joseph, Saint-Péray, and Cornas, and is run by brothers Eric and Joël Durand. Methods are sustainable, yields are moderate, and the approach is geared towards producing wines of elegance, subtle power, and great purity. “Prémices” Cornas 2016 (Regular $40) is 100% Syrah. It comes from a selection of granite soil plots in areas that produce soft yet refined wines. Vines are 13 to 15 years old and yields are low. The grapes are harvested at peak balance and de-stemmed before fermentation. Maturation lasts for 12 months in used casks to produce a wine both generous and fresh, with fine yet prominent tannins, and loads of plum, fig, and blackberry fruit.