J Delas Freres Cotes du Rhone Saint Esprit Rouge (Red) 2010 Southern Rhone, France

Tasting:          Date: October 03, 2012

Varietal:         Red Blend (90% Syrah 10% Grenache)

Country:         France

Tasting Date Price:  $12.99

Rating:  WA 89

Alcohol Content:  14%

Vineyard Website:   http://mmdusa.net/Delas-Freres/index

Visual Aspect: Dark plum-like hue

Nose:  Classical Syrah, with berry fruit, violet, licorice and spices.

Palate:  Full, rounded palate with delicate tannins

Food Pairing:  Provençale-style cuisine, game, stuffings and mixed grills

The Cotes-du Rhone Saint Esprit is made from a blend of 90% Syrah & 10% Grenache, coming from a small village in eh Ardeche region. The vineyard’s southern exposure on steep granite hillsides provides the best growing conditions of the vines.  Average production is 450,000 bottles per year.

Winery notes: Robert Parker, on the 2010 vintage:
“Some producers think 2010 eclipses 2007 because of the wines’ vivid freshness and focus. Throughout the southern Rhône, the hallmarks of the vintage are very dense purple, sometimes even blue/black colors as well as higher acid levels that have not been seen since 2004 and 2001. In fact, 2010’s paradox is that I can’t remember a vintage so concentrated, powerful and rich that also has such zesty acidity. The 2010s will have significant aging potential, which is obvious in the level of tannins, but the tannins are sweet with exceptional elegance and finesse. The ratio of high extractive and phenolic skins to the juice has produced wines of extraordinary intensity, freshness, aromatic potential and obvious longevity. This is another great vintage that offers an embarrassment of riches for this region that has enjoyed a succession of extraordinary years.”

Winemakers Notes:  All the grapes are de-stemmed. Fermentation and maceration take place in closed vats for approximately 15 days. Daily pumping over ensures extraction. Fermentation temperature is controlled and kept between 82°F and 86°F. After de-vatting, pressing and racking, malolactic fermentation is carried out in stainless steel vats.

Part of the wine (30%) is aged in oak barrels as to provide a touch of wood in the blend. The remaining is kept in vats to preserve fruit aromas. These wines are racked regularly in order to allow their components to stabilize naturally. The Saint Esprit cuvée is bottled after blending and light filtering.

Tasting Notes:  The Saint Esprit’s deep color has a dark, plum-like hue.  The nose is classical Syrah, with berry fruit, violet, licorice and spices.  It has a full, rounded palate with delicate tannins.  It a unique wine in the Cotes-du-Rhone appellation and can be paired with Provençale style cuisine, game, and mixed grills.

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