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Clusel-Roch 2019 'Vialliere' Côte-Rôtie, Rhône Valley, France

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  • Winemaker: Guillame Clusel
  • Farming: Organic certified
  • Variety: Syrah, 30 years old on average
  • Terroir: The vineyards are situated in “Viallière”, in the northern part of the Côte-Rôtie appellation, on ferrous mica schist soils. The slopes are south-east facing.. The vines on stakes are 'goblet-trained' and the vines on wire are pruned using the 'Cordon de Royat' method.
  • Vinification: Hand-harvested. Vatted by gravity and are partially destemmed. The fermentation process takes place with natural yeasts. During the winemaking process a series of procedures take place: pigeages which is punching of the cap and remontages which is pumping over the fermenting wine from the bottom of the cask back to the top. A moderate temperature is maintained ensuring a gentle extraction of aromas and tannins. Depending on the wine tasting results, devatting takes place after 3 to 4 weeks.
  • Aging: 2 years in oak barrels (volume of the barrel is 228 litres), (25 % new, made with fine grain French oak which has been dried for 4 years).
  • Tasting Note: Fine, elegant wines revealing good long-lasting aromas. Relatively complex fragrances of red and black fruits plus spices. The wines at their peak unveil aromas of undergrowth and grilled tobacco.

From our July 2022 Q3 Serious Inquiries Only Bottle Club:

Clusel-Roch | La Viallière Côte-Rôtie, Rhône Valley, France | 2019

    Clusel-Roch is a modest domaine of 20 hectares of vines in the Northern Rhône, based in Verenay, the northernmost village of Côte-Rôtie. Gilbert Clusel, his wife Brigit, and their son Guillaume organically farm and produce a small amount of world class Syrah and Viognier from the Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, and other regional appellations.
    After the First World War, the Northern Rhône Valley was left in shambles, and the region’s once-storied reputation had faded in years of subsistence farming.  In 1935, Gilbert’s grandparents, Baptiste and Marguerite Clusel, began planting his farm with market vegetables and a low-yielding Syrah clone known as Serine. Ever since, the Clusel family has been propagating new vines from within that vineyard, creating a concentrated and rich style of Côte-Rôtie. When René Clusel took the lead in the 1950s, he started to expand the estate, tearing up the vegetable garden and planting new vines in the now-famous Les Grandes-Places vineyard. The family began bottling and selling their wine, and by the time René retired, the estate had grown to 3.5 hectares. It wasn’t until Gilbert Clusel married Brigitte Roch that the legendary wines we now love were made. Clusel-Roch converted to organics in 1990, making them a real innovator in the region as organic farming was often deemed risky for vines that already yielded so little fruit. But making the vines fend for themselves and limiting any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides only made them stronger and healthier. The roots are strong, penetrating the rocky, ferrous mica schist and granite soils in this rather warm climate to search for a water source.
    This wine is made from 95% Serine-clone Syrah and 5% Viognier, harvested from the oldest vines in the tiny 0.6 hectare La Vialliére vineyard. The steep, rocky slopes are cultivated manually, as no farming equipment can navigate the terrain. The grapes are picked, partially destemmed, and spontaneously fermented with wild yeasts. After a few months, the wines are moved to small, mostly neutral French oak barrels for two years.
    This is only the 11th time La Viallière has been bottled; it takes time for vines to get so old that they have a unique voice that must be heard on their own. You can drink this elegant, meaty wine now with a long decanting, but if you have the patience, the aromas of fragrant scrub brush, grilled black fruit, smoked game, and black pepper will only evolve, and when paired with lamb, we promise it will blow your dinner guests away.  — Cara Patricia

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