Domaine Gramenon, Sierra du Sud 2019

Amidst the power is delightful delicacy: cassis mingled with tapenade, Provençal herbs, minerals and flowers.

Origin: Montbrison-sur-Lez, Southern Rhône, France

Grape: Syrah

ABV: 14%

Producer Profile

Gramenon is a little unusual, in that it makes high-end wines from vineyards that bear no more than the lowly appellation of Côtes du Rhône. The domain was set up by Phillipe and Michelle Aubery-Laurent in 1990 and quickly made a reputation for its concentrated, complex wines from very ripe grapes, which come mainly from old vines. Phillipe died in an accident in 1999, but Michelle has continued with the domaine with the assistance of her son, Maxime.

Grape Profile

Syrah (also known as Shiraz) is a dark-skinned grape variety that is grown throughout the world, that originates from the northern Rhône. Classic, world-renowned wines like Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage made Syrah famous for its inky purple hue, fragrant nose of dark berries, herbs, earth, graphite and smokey bacon. The wines are powerful with bold tannins, fresh acidity and long finish.

Region Profile

The southern sub region of the Rhône Valley has a more Mediterranean climate with milder winters and hot summers. Drought can be a problem in the area, but limited irrigation is permitted. The differing terroirs, together with the rugged landscape which partly protects the valleys from the Mistral wind, produce microclimates which give rise to a wide diversity of wines. A feature of the cultivation of the region is the use of large pebbles around the bases of the vines to absorb the heat of the sun during the day to keep the vines warm at night when, due to the cloudless skies, there is often a significant drop in temperature.

Viticulture

Due to the higher altitude the vineyards here benefit from a cooler climate, with a longer ripening season. The terroir is made up of sandstone and shell-sandy soils. This sandstone bank comes from a molasse layer left by a former maritime coastline under the influence of tidal streams circa 12 million years ago. The vineyard is planted with 8-30 year old vines, Cordon de Royat training methods used. The soil is mechanically worked in spring and summer; an additional manual hoeing is then done on some parcels of land. Only copper and sulphur are used to fight odium and mildew. Low yields (20 hl per hectare).

Vinification

• Hand-picked harvest in crates, with one selection
• 15 days maceration in concrete tanks
• Partially de-stemmed
• Natural yeasts
• Light addition of sulphur after malolactic fermentation depending on vintages
• Aging: 8 month in oak barrels
• Unfiltered
• Unfined

Suggested Foods:

Rack of lamb, grilled meats or mature cheese

Try it with:

Chilli con carne by Jo Pratt