"Grown on clay-limestone terraces in the easterly commune of Beaumont Monteux, the fruit is fermented and aged in raw concrete tanks. It's really powerful, with intense smoky bacon and spice notes, searing fruit and rapacious acidity, backed up with sinewy, saline tannins. Surging freshness and salinity make for quite a mouthful." Matt Walls, Decanter Magazine, 92 points
French Syrah (Shiraz) is at home on the hill of Hermitage and the surrounding vineyards of Crozes Hermitage and St. Joseph, along the Rhone river, about an hour due south of Lyon. They are dramatic vineyards, powerful and imposing, and provide the origin and the reference point for all quality Shiraz/ Syrah wines. This is a Syrah from an exciting, small, purposeful estate run by enigmatic David Reynaud. It is imported by a quality driven wholesale company called Vintage and Vine that are a long standing Australian importer of some of the best French wine estates and domaines, particularly from Burgundy, Alsace, Loire Valley and the Rhone.
David Reynaud makes wine at his family estate vineyard that was founded by his grandfather, Domaine Les Bruyeres, in 1955. David commenced at the family vineyard in 2000 and made drastic changes, the most impactful being the transition to certified organic and biodynamic farming principles in the vineyard. He achieved this certification in 2003.
This week’s wine is from a vineyard he owns (along with one he sources) himself, hence it carries his name and not the family estate. It is from a village in the south of Crozes-Hermitage in the village of Beaumont-Monteux, about a ten-minute drive from the hill of Hermitage. The soils here are a healthy sandy clay and gravel, which is perfect for quality viticulture (think Margaret River or Chateaneuf du Pape). The Beamont release comes from younger vines (circa 20 years), is raised (fermented and aged) in concrete tanks and is destined for earlier drinking. We would be enjoying this over the next three years.
What we love about it is that it is such a pure and honest expression of quality Crozes-Hermitage and quality French Syrah in general, at an accessible price point. When French Syrah is on point, like this release from Reynaud, it has a medium bodied intensity, wild violet and lavender perfumes, loads of white and black pepper and juicy blue and black berries. There is a raw nature to the wine, dense purple staining the glass and a chewy but slurpable texture. The wine finishes with freshness and tang, and would go great alongside some slow cooked lamb, which a lot of the countries top restaurants are now delivering to your door (Belotta, Tonka, Cumulus, Attica and Supernormal to name a few).
We recommend decanting the wine for about 30 minutes before serving, letting the perfume open. Serve it in large Bordeaux style glasses and enjoy. It’ll make good company for some of the cool and quiet nights we all have ahead. Some impressive reviews are below, and of course, please shout out for any more information.
92 Decanter - Grown on clay-limestone terraces in the easterly commune of Beaumont Monteux, the fruit is fermented and aged in raw concrete tanks. It's really powerful, with intense smoky bacon and spice notes, searing fruit and rapacious acidity, backed up with sinewy, saline tannins. Surging freshness and salinity make for quite a mouthful.
90 Robert Parker - The 2017 Crozes Hermitage Beaumont is floral, herbal and loaded with stone fruit aromas. This medium to full-bodied wine is so sound, so soft and so gulpable, it almost seems Grenache-like—yet it's Syrah from the Northern Rhône. Enjoy it over the next 3-4 years.
Tom and Dan