Breathtaking is a word we would use on this bottle of Côte-Rôtie "Côteaux de Tupin" 2014 by Jean-Michel Stéphan. A deep ruby core with a very clear meniscus, the wine was immediately floral, highly aromatic with ripe red berries, wild strawberries and bing cherries. Wonderfully alluring on the palate with brambly ripe fruits, slightly tannic (but ripe) with a touch of spiced mocha, dried black olives, hawthorn and aged clementine peel woven together by mouth-watering acid, a silky structure and a medium+ finish.
Made from pure Sérine (an ancient grape variety from Côte-Rôtie which Syrah is a member of), the vines are planted on a tiny plot located on the steep slopes and terraces (50 degrees) of Côteaux de Tupin. Yield is supremely low - only 15hl/ ha, compared to the official maximum allowable yield of 40hl/ha for the appellation. To put things in perspective, most NZ Sauvignon blanc are typically produced at a staggering 60-80hl/ha, if not more!
Monsieur Stéphan made this cuvée as a tribute to the legendary Jules Chauvet. We must say the wine was very dainty and light yet brimming with life. A little carbonic maceration was done before the Sérine grapes were fermented by native yeasts. The final wine was laid to rest in small French barriques (only a small number is new oak barrels) for 24 months before bottling without any filtration, fining or sulphur addition.
Frankly, this is hell of a superbly tasty and glouglou Côte-Rôtie, and reminded us of some old 1989 & 1990 Chave Hermitage we had many moons ago. A couple of more decades will likely transform this Sérine wine into something truly magnificent but it is oh-so-delicious at the moment that we probably will keep drinking as much of it as financially feasible!