Stephane’s Cote Rotie is a blend of a number of parcels across the appellation, Tupin, Cote de Brune, Cote Blonde and Cote Rosiers. The grapes from Cote Blonde were all de-stalked whereas those from Brune and old vines from Cote Rosiers, up to 50% of the stalks are kept. The ageing for the 2011 was a little shorter than usual, spending between 16-18 months in barrel. This is bursting with perfumed cassis and bramble notes, it is at once ripe and fragrant aswell as offering a succulent red berry juiciness. As round and suave as the tannins are there is great focus and tension to this fine-boned but intense wine. The fruit is open, expressive and is complimented by a beguiling spice, sap and fresh herb complexity.
After years of selling to negociants, Michel Ogier very belatedly started bottling up his own wines in the 1980s. Stephane, his son, took over the reins of the Domaine at the end of the nineties and has been carving a great reputation for himself. Within 10 years of winemaking he established himself as one of the very greatest producers of Cote Rotie there is. He exploits tiny parcels of vines throughout Cote Rotie, in the Cote Blonde, Brune and Cote Rosiers vineyards. His wines are typically Cote Rotie but with a modern polish. They are true to terroir and are made with either whole bunch or de-stemmed grape fermentation depending on terroir and vintage. Nothing is too systematic here, every detail in the winemaking process is thought through carefully and techniques are adapted according to necessity. The wines are aged in oak barriques from 18 to 24 months in 20-100% new oak depending on the cuvee. These are glorious wines – enchanting and alluring but with requisite density and dimension for a true Cote Rotie
Côte Rôtie or "Roasted Slope" is a red wine appellation in the far north section of the Northern Rhône, whose revival was started in 1970s by Marcel Guigal and his famed single vineyard wines but whose history starts as far back as the Romans. Settled in the near by town of Vienne it is believed this could be where they first grew vines in Gaul. Plantings have expanded from 70ha in the 60s to well over 200ha today. The vines are east and south east facing, planted on sheer slopes of schist. The vineyards are so treacherously steep that winches are in use in parts. The north wine can whistle through the valley quite visciously here so vines are staked to hold them in place. Theoretically there are two dinstinct zones: The Côte Blonde, where there are ligther yellower soils producing floral feminine wines and the Côte Brune, where darker, heavier soils predominate making for bigger, muscular, savoury wines. However these distinctions are in reality rather blurred both zones offer too much of a marble of soils to allow such great generalisation, a furthermore vine age, winemaking technique and the components within the blend can further complicate things: Growers use varying degrees of new oak or none at all, de-stalk or ferment with whole bunches, can be lightly or heavily extracted and either make a wine 100% from the red Syrah variety or can include up to 20% of the white Viognier in the blend. Wines with a blend of the latter, even in very small proportions, are very distinctly lighter in colour with pungent floral aromas. A classic Côte Rôtie will contain the tiniest proportions of Viognier or none at all, betray ripe red and black fruit flavours together with a distinct peppery spice and a savoury sap or undergrowth quality. The wine would ordinarily be less heavy and rich than those from the due south facing sunbaked Hermitage hill and but typically be more refined and have higher acidity owing to the acidic schistous soils. A good Côte Rôtie should need 5-7 years after the vintage before being approached and age well for a further 15 years at least. In addition to Guigal some excellent examples are made by Clusel-Roch, René Rostaing and Jamet.