2019 La Borie VDF Grenache/Syrah
Region: Suze-La-Rousse < Provence < Rhône Valley < France
Grapes: Grenache, Syrah
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic viticulture (in organic certification); galet stone covered clay-limestone soils; de-stemmed, fermented and aged in cement vats; bottled unfined/unfiltered with <20ppm So2; vegan; 12.7% ABV
Winemaker: Raphael Knapp
We've known Frenchie Raphael Knapp for ages. He used to be an importer of artisanal, organic French wine, a lot of which we bought and drank. He knows his stuff. So we were thrilled to learn that he had purchased an estate in the Southern Rhône, with an 18th century Chateau that is connected to the local and apparently famous castle. All kinds of fancy stuff, but what matters here is the location (south of the Northern Rhône, yet north of the Southern Rhône -- cooler, so wines are fresher than the average Southern Rhône wines) and soils - super rocky marly and clay - very good for grapes. Upon taking over, Raphael immediately started the organic conversion and certification process and cleaning up the winemaking. He's clearly living the dream, and while we're a teensy bit jealous, at least we get to enjoy the fruits of his labor.
Like this light and juicy take Grenache/Syrah blend, far from the bold (and often heavy wine) we find in this hot, sunny region. It smells a bit foresty, like pine resin and pepper, with more forest floor on the palate, along with tart plums, plush black cherry, and sweet forest berries in cranberry jello. Serve slightly chilled, with anything grilled. Also killer as a late-night sipper, ideally in front of a roaring fire.