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This wine comes from a small and lesser-known Côtes du Rhône named village in the Southern Rhône region, Roaix. This is one of only 18 named villages permitted to add the name of the village after Côtes du Rhône Villages on the label when all the grapes originate from that village, as they do here, hence Côtes du Rhône Roaix. Unusually for the Rhône it is produced 100% from Syrah or Shiraz. The producer is one of my favourites of the region, Gilles Ferran of Domaine des Escaravailles - Escaravailles is the name for beetles in the local dialect, Occitan, hence the beetle on the label and on the cork of this bottle; it is also said to be a nickname for black-robed monks that used to tend the vineyards in days gone by.
This small winery, in the Ferran family since 1953, is situated high up in the Rasteau region; its Syrah vines (a clone of Northern Rhône Syrah called Serein) are c. 40 years old.
Read about the Rhône crus and other appellations in my Rhône red wines blogpost.
This wine is really special because it is only produced in exceptional years and even then is only available in small quantities. The ageing vines and pebbly limestone soils help add to the intensity and complexity of flavours - black fruits, raspberries, violet, savoury meaty notes, white pepper and spices. It is aged for 9 months in 2 year old oak barrels - brand new barrels might impart too much oak into the wine so the effect is more subtle with older barrels. And yet despite the structure and intensity of this wine it is super smooth. Delicious!
The producer recommends drinking this wine with red meat, spicy lamb tagine, duck and game
"Small production of Syrah aged in oak barrels for a powerful, structured and smooth wine... Superb deep red colour with glints of Indian ink. The nose is elegant with aromas of cherry eau de vie, eucalyptus and old armagnac. The palate is full-bodied and round. Aromas of cherry jam with notes of licorice and white pepper."
91 - 93 points RobertParker.com Oct 2019
[Tasted in barrel]. "A Syrah-based wine matured in oak (30% new), the 2018 Cotes du Rhone Villages Roaix les Hautes Granges features lovely violet shadings on the nose, alongside peppery spice and raspberry fruit. Medium to full-bodied, it's supple, warm and inviting, with a long, silky-textured finish. Impressive!"
A super 100% Syrah or Shiraz Rhône wine produced from old vines only in exceptional years. Intense flavours of black fruits, violet, pepper and spice and a super smooth texture. As RobertParker.com says "Impressive!"