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|Appellation/Sub-Region||Vin de France|
|Vineyard/Cellar Practices||Biodynamically Grown, Low-Intervention/Natural Wine, Vegan|
The steep granite hills of the Côte Rôtie (or “roasted slope”) are impossibly beautiful - and impossible to work via tractor, requiring enormous dedication and painstaking work by hand. Domaine Clusel-Roch is located in Vérenay, the northernmost village in Côte Rôtie, with a winegrowing history that predates the region’s fame. Although the estate comprises a mere 3.5 ha, their plots are small-but-mighty, consistently producing intensely coveted cuvées. Now run by Gilbert Clusel, his wife Brigitte, and their son Guillaume, the Clusel-Roch family was among the first to adopt organic farming practices in the area, when Gilbert’s grandfather planted the core vineyard of the winery in 1935. They became pioneers of the organic farming movement and converted officially to organic in 2002. Syrah is the star here, and Clusel-Roch’s vineyards are not planted with just any syrah, but with the unique, low-yielding clone known as serine. Their single vineyard bottlings are in great demand (and limited quantity), but this cuvée provides a rare opportunity to get an affordable taste of Clusel-Roch’s inimitable style! Essentially declassified Côte-Rôtie, this Vin de France comes from a tiny 0.8 ha parcel at the top of a granite plateau just outside the northern edge of the Saint-Joseph appellation. Guillaume Clusel vinified it in a straightforward style designed to be drunk early on, while still retaining ageability. Grapes are partially destemmed and fermented with native yeasts, and the wine ages for a year in neutral 600 L barrels. This bottle is classic Northern Rhône syrah, delivering plenty of spice, plush dark blackberry, black raspberry, and currant, along with hints of crushed herbs and eucalyptus. A satisfyingly meaty texture melds delicious umami-rich notes of soy and wild game with cracked pepper, crushed cocoa nibs, and firm, dusty tannins. Warming, savory, and earthy. Biodynamically grown, low-intervention/natural wine, vegan.