2014 Domaine Clusel-Roch
(aged in 20% new oak): Opaque ruby. Dark berries, cherry pit, olive and smoky minerals on the expressive, spice-accented nose. Juicy, sharply focused bitter cherry and blueberry flavors show very good depth and a peppery nuance. A sexy floral pastille note comes up with air and carries through a long, youthfully tannic and mineral-driven finish. Rating: 91-93 Josh Raynolds, www.vinousmedia.com (Mar 2016)
*Case Price: Mix any 12 bottles of wine or buy 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits or Fortified (as a full pack) to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
Founded by René Clusel in 1969, the winery is now run by his son, Gilbert and wife Brigitte Roch with their son now Guillaume taking more and more on when not working on his own wine-project nearer Lyon. Today the property is still tiny: despite the addition of a small parcel in St Joseph they retain just five hectares in Côte Rôtie and just half a hectare in Condrieu. The vines are planted on terraces along the Côte Rôtie, with two wooden stakes tied above each vine to help protect against the region's occasionally howling winds. Having officially converted to organic farming practices in 2002 (and now fully certified organic), most work in the vineyards is done manually, without the use of any chemical fertilizers. In order to even better express the tradition of the vineyard, the domaine only uses vines from their own selection of Syrah plantings, which are grafted in their own small nursery. According to Gilbert, these traditional Ampuis vines (vieilles serines) are less productive and give more complex aromas than available modern selections. The grapes are all hand-picked, backbreaking work on these perilous hills and left to naturally ferment with wild yeasts. This approach furthers the site purity in each of their wines. Annual production here still hovers at about 1250 cases per year, these are beautifully made wines with a very pure expression of place from this great region.
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