Syrah, Vin de France, 2014

  André Perret

Contains Sulphites.

About André Perret

Tasting André’s superb wines is an unforgettable experience. However, there is always a reticent air about him and an unwillingness to accept praise for the nectar that lies in his immaculate cellars. He deflects most of the praise onto the steep vineyards he owns at Chavanay and the three hectare Coteau du Chéry, the pearl in his oyster. His vines (between 25 to 50 years old) are well exposed to the sun and rarely yield more than 30 hl/ha. He prefers one- to two-year-old oak for maturing his whites, believing that brand new oak can only subdue the extravagant natural aromas and flavours of the Viognier. Of his two top Condrieu, the Clos Chanson is usually the most immediately appealing. It offers balance and charm for up to three years in bottle, while the Château du Chéry plays a little harder to get with its finer, classier fruit and violet hints that further reveal themselves with a couple of years bottle age. The crunchy, damson-packed St Joseph usually requires two years in bottle before starting to drink while Les Grisières, a parcel of 90-year-old vines, could challenge a Côte Rôtie for its grace and longevity.

Appellation: Northern Rhone

The Northern Rhone is home to some of the world's finest red wines. Appelations such as Hermitage and Cote Rotie have long been favoured by the world's fine wine collectors, conjuring up wonderful images of deeply complex, heady, and robust examples of Syrah. Here, the best wines hail from steep slopes that flank the Rhone, generally over granite soils. These steep vineyards amplify the warm continental climate of the Northern Rhone, radiating and moderating warmth from the river as well as exposing the vines to the cooler breezes carried by the Mistral. This is not without its risks however; on the one hand it helps retain bright, fresh acidities (particularly beneficial in appelations such as Cote Rotie and Condrieu) but too much and flowering can be hampered, coupled with the inevitable risk of soil erosion in vineyards this steep. Combined, these factors make the vineyards notoriously difficult to work, but - done properly - the results speak for themselves: stunning wines inflected with all the hallmarks of great Syrah and Viognier - concentrated fruit, sophisticated spice and minerality, not to mention longevity. Alongside the mighty Hermitage and Cote Rotie, other stars of the Northern Rhone include Cornas, St Joseph and Crozes Hermitage, which together produce some of the most exciting and best value wines in all of France.

Grape Type: Syrah/Shiraz

The great red grape of the northern Rhône where it reaches its optimum levels in the violet-scented muscular wines of Hermitage and the graceful sappy Côte Rôties, which in the latter case is sometimes blended with Viognier. The wines of Cornas are renowned as producing Syrah-based wines very close in quality to Hermitage, while St Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage also represent some good value examples. It is also a component of many southern Rhône reds, namely Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. As Shiraz, it is Australia's most important red variety, found in various guises from ripe fruit-forward commercial wines to intense concentrated old vine cuvees such as Grange and those of Clarendon Hills. In the best instances Syrah/Shiraz produces deep, spicy, age-worthy wines.