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  • Domaine Verzier Côte Rôtie "Indiscrète" 2014

Domaine Verzier Côte Rôtie "Indiscrète" 2014

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It’s hard to imagine that arguably the most prestigious French Syrah appellation, Côte Rotie, was once completely under-exploited. This is royal Syrah terroir: Côte Rotie is a series of south-east facing, sun-bathed Schist soil slopes (Côte Rotie translates to “Roasted Slope”). It’s the apex of Syrah grape-growing for northern climates, but because it is so famously hard to farm, by the 1970’s only 70 hectares were planted. It’s hard to imagine now, but like many families in the Northern Rhone, the Verziers relied on their stone fruit as a reliable source of income while the vineyards played second fiddle!

Philippe Verzier comes from a family of peach growers, which was largely the focus of the domaine until he took over in the 1980’s and was able to focus on winemaking by purchasing St. Joseph and Condrieu parcels. After over a decade of negotiating, he was able to start buying a tiny quantity of sustainably-farmed grapes from a friend to produce his own bottles of Côte Rotie each year. With very little oak, balanced richness, and a fruit-packed nose, this elegant Syrah will make you a believer.

In the Côte Rotie appellation, there are two schools of thought: “modern” or “internationalized”, (very extracted and heavily oaked) vinification, or traditional vinification. Philippe Verzier falls into the latter category and he adds his personal touch: his Côte Rotie is made in a distinctly light, elegant style. He keeps a third of the harvest as whole cluster so wines are less tannic, but with enough of the meaty, roasted notes that are classic Cote Rotie. Because the wine has 5% viognier, it adds a subtle touch of freshness to this ripe, savory, dark fruit of the Syrah. The wine is vinified in stainless steel tank, then with 18 months in “demi-muids” or 600-liter barrels—chosen so that don’t lend too much oak to the wine.

The wine is juicy and satisfying but, thanks to the subtle vinification, the schist terroir shines through, giving it great structure. We paired it with Moroccan lamb meatballs, but Philippe’s favorite pairing is open it with steak and a truffle sauce. 2014 is a great vintage for Northern Rhone wines— this wine is ready to drink right away, but like any great Côte Rôtie, can be aged for years to come.  

Region: Cote Rotie
Vintage: 2014
Varietal: 95% Syrah, 5% Viognier
Alc % by Vol: 13.5% 
Drink: Now through 2024
Pair with: Steak & truffles (winemaker's recommendation), lamb 

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