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2016 Côtes-du-Rhône “Sierra du Sud”

Domaine Gramenon

2016 Côtes-du-Rhône “Sierra du Sud” Domaine Gramenon - Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant

That Syrah is tough to sell is an old wine business cliché, and as with most clichés, there’s some truth in it. For whatever reason, this beguiling, dark-skinned grape hasn’t captivated wine drinkers the way other varieties have. I think it’s because the best Syrahs somehow seem inscrutable. Instead of leaping out of the glass, they pull you in. They have interesting and unusual aromas, and are slightly off-kilter in an intriguing way, like the waltz in 5/4 time in Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique. If you happen to be a Syrah devotee, like me, you probably appreciate these qualities in your wine—and perhaps in your music as well.
      Although everyone’s experience is different, I’d be willing to wager that for most Syrah lovers, the seminal Syrah experience was with a bottle from the northern Rhône. It’s an improbable combination of grape and place, with vineyards so steep and punishing to work that even the scions of famous domaines think twice about taking over from their hardworking parents. Louis Barruol traverses the slopes of Côte Rôtie—the northernmost appellation in the northern Rhône—for the most expressive parcels of Syrah. He vinifies each separately, and then Kermit tastes through every lot and assembles the final blends.
      Farther south, at Domaine Gramenon, the terrain is a bit less forbidding and the Syrah a bit more extroverted. Proprietor Michèle Aubèry-Laurent skews natural in her farming and winemaking, and her wines are effortlessly enjoyable. Maybe you’re not in the mood for Tchaikovsky and would prefer some mischievous Stravinsky instead.
      Don’t be thrown off by the appellation. This Côtes-du-Rhône is all Syrah: lots of flowers, dark berry fruit, and smoky notes for diligent sniffers to discover.

Dustin Soiseth

$35.00
Vintage: 2016
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Syrah
Appellation: Côtes-du-Rhône
Country: France
Region: Southern Rhône
Producer: Domaine Gramenon
Winemaker: Michèle Aubèry-Laurent & Maxime François Laurent
Vineyard: 15-35 Years
Soil: Clay, Limestone varied with gravel, galets roulés, and/or sand
Aging: Grapes macerate for 12 days in cement cuve, Wine ages in both cuve and in barriques for 7 months before bottling
Farming: Organic (practicing)
Alcohol: 14%

More from this Producer or Region

About Southern Rhône

The southern Rhône valley is Grenache country. It’s also known for its stones. With a viticulture history dating back well before the Popes arrived in the 12th century and one of France’s oldest appellations d'origine contrôlée, Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe, the southern Rhône is unquestionably one of France’s best known and premier winegrowing regions. The wines have the pedigree and age-worthiness of Burgundy and Bordeaux, but with a rustic, Mediterranean character. Like most wines from southern France, the reds, whites, and rosés are blends. Filling out the Grenache for the reds and rosés, you’ll often find Syrah, Carignan, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault. The common white grape varieties are Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Viognier, Roussane, and Marsanne among others. From the alluvial riverbed stones found in Lirac, Tavel, and Châteauneuf to the limestone cliffs of the Dentelles de Montmirail that influence Beaumes-de-Venise (where you’ll find excellent Muscat), Vacqueyras, and Gigondas, great terroir abounds.

Kermit’s entrance in the region came in the mid 1970s on his first trip with Richard Olney, an American ex-pat and friend of Alice Waters. On that trip, Richard introduced Kermit to the Brunier family of Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe. Soon after, Kermit began importing the Brunier’s wines—their Châteauneuf-du-Pape “La Crau” bottling remains a staple of our portfolio today. In the late 1990s Kermit teamed up with the Brunier family to purchase the famed Gigondas estate, Domaine Les Pallières. More than 40 years later, we now import wines from fifteen southern Rhône domaines spanning the entire area of the region.

More from Southern Rhône or France

2016 Côtes-du-Rhône “Poignée de Raisins”

Domaine Gramenon  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Côtes-du-Rhône

$27.00

2012 Côtes du Vivarais

Domaine Gallety  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Côtes du Vivarais

$29.00

2014 Vacqueyras Rouge “Cuvée Doucinello”

Domaine Le Sang des Cailloux  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Vacqueyras

$34.00

2016 Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge “Il Fait Soif”

Maxime-François Laurent  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Côtes du Rhône

$26.00

2014 Vacqueyras Rouge “Cuvée de Lopy”

Domaine le Sang des Cailloux  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Vacqueyras

$53.00

2015 Gigondas “Les Racines”

Les Pallières  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Gigondas

$40.00

2013 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Châteauneuf-du-Pape

$79.00

2014 Lirac “Le Classique”

Domaine du Joncier  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Lirac

$25.00

2014 Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise

Domaine de Durban  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise

$16.00

2015 Côtes-du-Rhône “Cuvée Kermit Lynch”

Selected by Kermit Lynch  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Côtes du Rhône

$12.95

2016 Côtes-du-Rhône “L’O de Joncier”

Domaine du Joncier  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Lirac

$17.00

2016 Tavel Rosé

Château de Trinquevedel  France  |  Southern Rhône  |  Tavel

$18.95

There is so much contained in a glass of good wine, It is a gift of nature that tastes of man's foibles, his sense of the beautiful, his idealism and virtuosity.

Adventures on the Wine Route, pages 232

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