Pliny the Elder, the Roman author, was a fan of wines from the Rhône Valley. Something he wrote nearly 2,000 years ago struck winemaker Pierre Gaillard, a student of wine history, as a tip for finding something almost incredible today: unused Grand Cru-level terroir in the heart of French wine country.
Five clones of estate-grown syrah are blended together to produce a wine full of nice, tarry fruit. Balanced by good acidity, this wine is hearty from nose through palate to finish. Yet it has a touch of florals throughout as well, which add both a hint of delicacy and another layer of complexity to the earthiness of this still-young wine. Pairs well with roasted meat and fried onion strings. Recommended. BSE.
Cows and sheep trekking down from the mountains have nothing to do with the “Transhumance” name of the wine; instead it’s the winemaker himself who makes the journey from the Northern Rhone down to the Languedoc region in the south of France. There, he has produced an earthy, smoky, syrah-based wine. A bit of the wild landscape there shows in a splash of minty herbs that appear toward the tail end of the aromas and drift into the flavors, to accompany the smoldering deep red berries that persist into the finish. Nice, hearty, integrated tannins in this five-year-old wine. Recommended. BSE.
The color shows the wine’s age, just starting to go from deeper colors in the center to a brick red at the edges. The nose shows classic Northern Rhone - a bushel blackberries in a room full of dry-aging beef. The same blackberries and meat show on the palate, with black pepper, raspberries join the party on the mid-palate. Meat flavors move toward smoked meats on the finish, adding lingering licorice. Tannins are fine, soft, mouth-coating. Drink with dry-aged New York Strip. Highly Recommended. DH
A little hazy (unfiltered), bright, medium intensity, bright purple color. Clean on the nose, medium intensity aromas of black fruit, moss, cedar, black pepper, spice, stewed black cherries, oak, and smoke. Dry, medium body, medium tannin, medium-high acidity. Flavors of red and black fruit, Bing cherry, red fruit, strawberry, raspberry coulis, some oak on the palate, and a slight lactic note. Medium finish. Pair with braised short ribs or tofu in five spice. Recommended. RR
An interview with winemaker Anne Hubatch of Helioterra Wines. The 2009 Helioterra Columbia Valley Syrah was awarded to Palate Press Readers' Choice Red Wine of the Year.
A very interesting twist on Syrah, New World and Old World meet in South Africa.