2019 Domaine Duseigneur ‘Minha Terra’ Syrah
Region: Vaucluse > Rhône Valley > France
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: certified organic farming with some biodynamic practices, pebbly soil with some sand, semi-carbonic maceration in stainless steel, rested in tank, bottled unfined/unfiltered with no sulfur added; zero-zero; 14.5%
Winemaker: Bernard Duseigneur
After over a decade of life in the city as an investment banker, Bernard Duseigneur returned to his Provençal roots and took over Domaine Duseigneur from his brother and father. His time away offered him perspective, and when he came back he brought new ideas about farming and winemaking that inspired a wholesale rehabilitation of the domaine. Bertrand sees the health of the soil and the work in the vineyard as the sole determinant of the quality of the wine, so he commandeered the switch to organic farming and the use of biodynamic treatments and principles. His mission is to provide the best nutrients to the soil with the appropriate range of flora and fauna, and allow those nutrients, elements and energy to transfer to the vine. Being a winemaker for him also means translating the energy in the soil in the most hands off way possible.
‘Minha Terra’, which means ‘my land’ in Portuguese, is a textbook example of this – despite being entirely sans soufre- no added sulfur. Sans soufre is a difficult thing to do well, and we love to embrace winemakers taking this risk. From sandy, pebble-strewn soils that strongly resemble those of Châteauneuf, this Syrah is vinified whole-cluster with just 10 days skin contact, and the semi-carbonic fermentation yields a purple-hued, fruit-forward wine, that is still deliciously complex and textured. While plush and accessible -- and certainly easy drinking -- it finishes with some sneaky seriousness in the form of spice, iron and a touch of chewy tannin. It’s a beautiful rendition of Rhône Syrah that reminds us of a great Saint-Joseph and inspires some braised lamb with olives, or grilled mushrooms with herbes de provence and olives. Châteauneuf du Pape lovers, this is your clean swap!