Wine Article

2010 Domaine de Saint Siffrein Côtes du Rhône Villages Vieilles Vignes

Last edited on 2/12/2012 by ccrida
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From Garagiste / Jon Rimmerman
"After tasting this for the third time in the last few months, I still cannot believe this is Cotes du Rhone (and neither can most of the other palates that have been wooed by its splendor). In a similar circumstance to the Royer from earlier in the week, Saint-Siffrein found themselves in an all to familiar 2010 pickle – with “lesser” wine that was simply too good for its respective appellation. In Royer’s case, the wine was picked from CdP holdings so it was a decision to declassify the wine. In Saint-Siffrein’s case their old-vine parcel (that abuts CdP) is a Cotes du Rhone Villages designated vineyard. The interesting part, from an oenophiles standpoint, is that this vineyard is arguably better than all of the surrounding Chateauneuf du Pape parcels that it claims as a neighbor...
...and everyone in their region knows it.
Including all of the local sommeliers.
It is not every year that Saint-Siffrein bottles this wine as the vintage rarely justifies the extra effort of manual picking/sorting/vinification. In 2010, not only did the vintage dictate the presence of the Villages (vieilles vignes) but they toyed with labeling it as a lowly “table wine” so they could actually charge more than local acceptance would allow (closer to the price of their Chateauneuf du Pape). In the end, and with repeated prodding by this scribe, they’ve given us one of the bargain marvels of an already sumptuous and classic year in the Southern Rhone...bottled simply as Cotes du Rhone Villages.
This is Grenache and Syrah, from lengthy and wise roots that have fought the law and the roots won. All I will say is that, in a blind tasting of 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape tank samples from their surrounding quadrant of the appellation, this wine came in second (remember, it’s a Cotes du Rhone Villages). It is one of those uncanny examples where everything happened in proper sequence and the wine basically made itself. Elegant, uncluttered, supremely focused and driven – it reflects exactly why the vintage is so promising in the Rhone. The old-vine sappy depth, low alcohol (13.0%) and halogen bulb brilliance of its even-keeled and classic composition rings every bell of the old school while never giving into anything remotely unsettling. A wonderful and poised pair with grilled steak, braised short ribs, country stew or even the ubiquitous backyard barbeque, I have a difficult them envisioning an occasion this wine wouldn't embrace?
In the end, if you are looking for gargantuan, oak-aged 15.0% Grenache-gargoyles, look elsewhere – if you are searching for the utmost in breed and a quality that never needs to prove anything to anyone...this is your wine...and it is so darn fun to drink."