Maison Les Alexandrins Syrah - 2020
It is in its French birthplace, between the towns of Vienne and Valence, that Syrah fully expresses itself. For some people, Syrah originates from Shiraz in Iran and was brought back by the Crusades. For others, Syrah appeared in the third century during the Roman Empire, at the time of Emperor Probus. As for Viognier, the latest scientific research proved that it originates from the Northern Rhône Valley.
The substratum of the right bank of the Rhône River is composed of primary rocks such as Gneiss and granite from old volcanic rocks from the Massif Central. Its sandy-clay soils are also composed of granite elements. The important amount of granite gives the wine a powerful and rustic character as well as minerality. The geological components of the left bank of the Rhône are more varied. There is granite soil as well as some plots covered in pebbles remaining from the glaciers. The pebbles have been rounded and polished by the Rhône and keep the heat of the day and give it back at night. This helps the concentration of sugars and aromas.
Situated between the semi-continental climate of Burgundy and the Mediterranean climate of Provence, the winters are continental: cold, wind and little rain. The summers are Mediterranean: hot with storms and little wind. Thanks to the contrast in the climate, this Syrah reveals intense aromas of red fruit and spices and a beautiful minerality.
After the hail damage of 2019, we had to nurse our vineyards back to health with a range of gentle but complementary nutrients. This made 2020 a technically exacting year, especially since the weather reserved many surprises for us. Spring was extraordinarily hot and dry and, despite a short break in June when some welcome rain fell, summer saw a continuation of drought conditions right up until the harvest. With a high risk of mildew at the start of the season, constant and unpredictable winds, powdery mildew half way through the season and the threat of high temperatures and scorching, we were spared nothing, and it required a major effort to cope. Fortunately, the occasional shower, fairly cool nights and morning dew meant the vines did not suffer too much from the summer heat, and all our hard work seems to have paid off with the promise of a fine vintage. To avoid the hottest moments of the day, we began picking from 6 am so as to pick the grapes while they were cool. We began with the whites on August 19 and continued with the reds through until September 16. First tastings revealed aromatic wines of great freshness, with degrees rarely exceeding 13.5°. After so many twists and turns, it is a vintage that reverts to origin in a very “Northern Rhône” style, after the mediterranean vintages of 2018 and 2019.
The vineyard, composed of young vines of an average age of 15 years, is planted on terraces. It covers the hinterland of the Nothern Côtes du Rhône. It is situated on localities of the Southern Rhône, Loire, Isère, northern Drôme and north Ardèche.
The grapes are cold-macerated before fermenting to develop the fruit. Maceration and fermentation for a fortnight with pumping over the first few days and then pumping down towards the end. Part of the wine is aged for 5-6 months in stainless steel tanks. This type of tank helps keep the freshness and fruit. The other part is aged in oak tanks for the same amount of time to help extract the tannins.
Seductive deep-red dress. The nose reveals an opulent aromatic palate with aromas of small red fruit and black spices. Round and well balanced, this northern Syrah is particularly seductive on the palate with notes of spices, Morello cherries and violets and its soft tannins enhanced by good acidity. A little touch of Viognier completes the wine, giving it a silky touch.
This wine is to be drunk now at a temperature of 16°C.
Our food match: This wine will match simple, convivial meals such as grilled meats, cheeses or even an exotic or spicy cuisine.
Syrah : 95 %
Viognier : 5 %