Domaine Vernay 2016 "Terres d'Encre" Syrah, Saint-Joseph, Rhône Valley, France

Domaine Vernay 2016 "Terres d'Encre" Syrah, Saint-Joseph, Rhône Valley, France

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Domaine Vernay 2016 "Terres d'Encre" Syrah, Saint-Joseph, Rhône Valley, France

This historic estate sits in the heart of the Northern Rhone, known most famously for the family's preservation of the Viognier grape, and the proliferation of world-class white wines from the area. Today, the third generation of Vernay leads the estate; Christine has maintained the elegance and complexity of the white wines that have made the family world-famous, but has also brought further acclaim to the Domaine with the production of her Syrah-based red wines. 

Farming: Organic

Winemaker/Chef du Cave: Christine Vernay

Grape Varieties: Syrah

Terroir: 30 year old Syrah vines planted to steep, granite-dominated hillsides. 

Vinification/Oak Usage: The grapes are manually harvested and destemmed before going into temperature-controlled stainless steel vats. Fermentation occurs in barrel for 2-3 weeks, and the wine is matured in neutral barrels for one year before bottling. 

Tasting Notes: This structured Syrah has aromas of licorice, rich mission figs, warm chocolate and hint of clove and eucalyptus. The wine finishes with a bit of tannin, and a long, complex finish. This bottles can be consumed now with a bit of decanting, or enjoyed in the next 3 to 10 years. 

Domaine Georges Vernay lies at the heart of Condrieu both literaly  and figuratively. With just over 7 hectares in the original appellation,  Geoges Vernay and his father played key roles in the creation and  survival of Condrieu. The heritage of the Condrieu appellation is hard to surpass. Evidence  exists that point to the perfumed, floral whites of these granite  hillsides being made as far back as the 3rd century A.D. By the  fourteenth century, the wines were being shipped down the river to the  Papal Palace in Avignon, and by the early 1700s the wines had found  their way into the cellars of English royalty.

In 1940, the appellation was officially created thanks in large part to  the help and efforts of Francis Vernay. In later years, his son George  would play a key role in restricting the geographical boundaries of  Condrieu to include only the best hillside vineyards, even robbing  himself of the appellation for some of his vineyards on the plateau  above. Domaine Georges Vernay came to be regarded as one of the  reference standards in Condrieu for decades with Geor ge at the helm,  but when he retired in the early 1990s there was uncertainty as to this  famous domaine’s future. Finally, after a few years adrift, George’s  daughter Christine returned home in 1997 to assume control and under her  the domaine has flourished even more. She has brought an even greater  level of refinement to the wines and has also brought more focus on the  estate’s reds bringing them up to a world class level.

The domaine now consists of a range of wines from Vin de Pays to  Condrieu and Côte‐Rôtie. All the vineyards are farmed organically and  all vineyard work is carried out by hand. There are two Syrah cuvées as  well as a Viognier made from vines on the plateau above Condrieu which  all carry the Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes appellation. There  is a Côtes‐du‐Rhône from the Sainte Agathe vineyard in Condrieu that is  100% Syrah and a Saint Joseph from the northern commune of Chavanay. In  Côte‐Rôtie there are two bottlings, the first from old Syrah plantings  in the Maison Rouge vineyard, and the second a blend of Syrah and 5%  Viognier called Blonde du Seigneur from the Lancement and Côteaux de  Semons sites. In Condrieu, there are three cuvées; Terrasses de  L’Empire, Chaillées de L’Enfer, and the famous Côteau de Vernon.

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