2001 La Côte Rousse, Syrah
First, a little clarification about the name, La Côte Rousse. Syrah has long been the superstar of the appellations of the Northern Rhone Valley of France.
Vineyard areas like Côte Rôtie, Hermitage and Cornas have cultivated extraordinary wines for centuries. In the appellation of Côte Rotie, two small vineyards carry the names La Côte Brune (the brunette) and La Côte Blonde (the blonde), following the legend that a winemaker named the two sites for his daughters. Our Syrah, La Côte Rousse, is named for the third daughter he never had (the redhead), as well as for the fact that our grapes come from a terrific site in the Red Mountain appellation.
Because of the heat in 2001, we harvested this site early: we pulled these grapes off on September 20, a full 7-10 days ahead of average. The berries were deeply colored, very sweet and thick skinned. They had actually started to shrivel slightly, a step that we think adds another dimension of flavor to Syrah. During the eight day fermentation we got rather aggressive with the skins, punching down vigorously twice each day, hoping to extract the full range of color and flavor that these berries held. The efforts paid off with a purple black wine as it went to barrel.
We held the wine in French 225 liter barrels, about 60% new, for 13 months before bottling. During its maturation we racked the wine every 3-4 months, naturally clarifying it. It was bottled without filtration or fining.
- 100% Syrah
- 100% French 225 liter oak barrels
- 60% new oak, aged for 13 month
- 140 cases
This is a wine of wonderful concentration, supple and lingering on the palate. Its core is red black, with an enduring hint of youthful purple. Black candies jump from the glass: licorice, blackberry, blackcherry and plum; there’s also a grapey, spicy zest to the aroma. Leather and roasted coffee play in the background. It's mouth filling, with a raft of black fruits, and a wild, peppery flavor. Hints of barrel vanilla and toast tease the flavor and aroma. Time will tame its tannins, but I find it irresistible right now with a little breathing time.