2010 La Côte Rousse, Syrah
Our vinous neighbors in Oregon maintain that a mix of Pinot Noir “clones” (genetically identical vines but with different cultural/sensory expression) is essential in producing complex wines; Tuscan winemakers argue the same for San Giovese in constructing remarkable Chianti Classico. The same may be true for Syrah, the wine whose clones may dictate more of the wine’s final character and expression than where the grapes are grown.
Fans of our Syrah La Côte Rousse know that it’s unique in our portfolio in that it’s made from four different clones of Syrah, all grown on Red Mountain within a mile or so of each other. Each of the four has different growing traits and certainly different flavors and aromas. Syrah is the grape variety that challenges my belief that “site trumps clone” because each varies significantly from the other three: Phelps clone/fundamental black fruit, clone 99/plump structure, clone 174/meat and smoke, clone 383/layered complexity.
Regardless, we couldn’t be more pleased with their blended results this vintage. The 2010 Syrah La Côte Rousse coats the glass with a teeth-staining black color. Sweet candied berries are the dominant fruit, enhanced by a pungent smokiness, roasted meat and wet stones. It enters plush and thick, and is backed up with a full mid palate and a powerful yet supple structure. Its finish is wrapped in super-fine tannin, especially for a wine from Red Mountain.
Blending Detail and Aging Profile
- 100% Syrah
- Clones 174, 383, 99 and Phelps
- Serve cool, 60-62°F
- Best from 2014 through 2020
AVA & Vineyard Detail:
- Ciel du Cheval
- Kiona, Ranch at the End of the Road
Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 93
(from a warmer site than the La Serenne): Bright red-ruby. Black raspberry, flowers, minerals and spices on the nose, plus a hint of black walnut that reminded me of Hermitage. Juicy on entry, then sinewy and penetrating in the middle, and clearly less pliant and sweet today than the La Serenne. The dark fruit and bitter chocolate flavors are supported by obvious Red Mountain structure. For all its power, the minerally, spicy, peppery finish displays very fine-grained tannins and lovely subtle persistence. Actually a bit higher in pH than the La Serenne but this is likely to need at least as much time in the cellar--say five or six years.
David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate, 92
Originating half each in Ranch at the End of the Road (source of this bottling’s first appearances in 1999 and 2000) and neighboring Ciel du Cheval (tapped since 2001) on Red Mountain, the Betz 2010 Syrah Le Cote Rousse features ripe but tart-edged dark cherry and plum accented by smoky, carnal, saline, mouthwateringly savory notes that (idiosyncratically, granted!) put me vividly in mind of pan scrapings from a roasting goose. This feels firmly tannic but that doesn’t keep it from displaying generous primary juiciness in a sustained finish. As with a number of wines tasted on this occasion, I’d be inclined to leave it in peace for a couple of years and then anticipate at least 6-8 years of bottle development.