Cercius 2012 Vieilles Vignes Cotes Du Rhone (91WA)
- Size: 750ml
- Item Code: 690604000492
- Vintage: 2012
“The 2012 Cercius Vieilles Vignes is a year in, year out ridiculous value that also drinks well past its humble price point. Comprised of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah that was aged for 6 months in concrete, it has loads of raspberry, licorice, mineral and Provencal herbs as well as a soft, supple and silky textured feel on the palate. Coming from old Grenache vines (70-90 years in age) located on the Plateau de Domazan – which lies on the right bank of the Rhone river, just west of Avignon and bottled unfined and unfiltered, it is a quintessential Cotes du Rhone that will deliver the goods for 4-5 years, possibly longer. The leading estate in the potential rich Costieres de Nimes region, these knockout wines are made by the talented Michel Gassier, who is leading the way in this appellation and showing what’s possible when you focus on quality. “ (WA)
The Rhône can be divided into two regions with different viticulture philosophy: Northern Rhône focues on one principal grape — Syrah; Southern Rône produces blended wines, allowing as much as 13 grape varieties in some bottles. Thus Northern Rhône wine tends to have an intense, smokey character while the Southern wine assumes a rounder personality (The juicy Grenache grape is often used as a dominant blend).
Hermitage, Côte Rôtie, Crozes-Hermitage, St. Joseph, and Cornas are the most well-known Northern Rhône communes focusing on Syrah. There are fine differences in these subregional wines. For example, Hermitage Syrah is well known for its deep color, intense nose, and full-bodied structure. Crozes-Hermitage, the largest appellation the northern region, offers softer Syrah, blending it the lighter Marsanne and Roussanne. Hidden amid these Syrah focused communes, the small Condrieu appellation produces Viognier. Because of the low production volume, Condrieu commands highest price for its dry white wine.
Majority of the wine in Southern Côtes du Rhône is red, though ~15% is dedicated to rosé and white. Key appellations include Coteaux du Tricastin, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vacqueryas, Gigondas, Tavel, Beaumes-de-Venise, Côtes du Ventoux, and Côtes du Lubéron. As mentioned earlier, southern Rhône reds are blended with many varietals. For example, reds from Châteauneuf-du-Pape (a well-known appellations) are composed of Grenache (50-70%), Syrah (10-30%), Cinsault, Mourvèdre and other reds (~20%) and Marsanne other white varietals (5-10%). In addition, Côtes du Ventoux is an appellation famous for its Vin Doux Naturel — a delicious dessert wine made with the Muscat grapes.
Syrah Legends have long persisted regarding the origins of the Syrah vine: one, that it was brought to southern France from the Iranian city of Shiraz by the Greeks; or that the Romans brought it from Egypt via Syracuse; or another that it was introduced by Crusaders returning from the Middle East via Cyprus. In any case, Syrah was widely planted in the Rhône by Roman times, leading pragmatists to think it indigenous to France. Syrah is a warm-climate variety which thrives in various conditions, but great Syrah is less forgiving. It requires warmth, but not excessive heat, and thin, rocky, well-drained, heat-retentive soils exposed to abundant sunshine. Its tendency to coulure, or the failure of the flowers to develop into berries, dictates it be sited on slopes protected from wind. Vigorous and moderately to highly productive in sandy loam soil, its concentration and character are enhanced in the shallow granite and mica schist of the northern Rhône which stress the vine and curb yield. The small, thick skinned berries are deep blue-black in color, high in extract, flavor, aroma and tannin, and of good acidity which evaporates at the first instant of over-ripeness. Important throughout France’s Mediterranean basin, Syrah is usually blended with other varieties. In the northern Rhône appellations, among them Hermitage, Cornas and Côte-Rôtie, it strongly dominates blends which may include Viognier, Marsanne or Rousanne. In the southern Rhône, in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the Côtes-du-Rhône, it lends structure to Grenache and Cinsault. In the Languedoc-Roussillon it is blended with various other prolific grapes to enhance the whole. The rest of the world typically produces Syrah as a pure varietal, both in dry and fortified styles of wine. Syrah is a perfumed, seductively brooding wine marked by dense, rich, chewy black berry fruit with notes of tar, wood smoke, bacon, leather, chocolate, and sometimes violets. The tannins are steely yet elegant, and co-exist well with oak contact.