2018 Domaine Serol, Gamay, Cote Roannaise “Eclat de Granite” Loire Valley, France.
Stephane Serol’s latest release, the 2018 Eclat de Granite is a lovely and intriguing red with a meaty core of dark fruit and mineral tones along with fresh acidity and a subtle floral delicacy made from 100% Gamay St. Romain, with a partial whole cluster fermentation and aged in neutral wood & tank. Gamay St. Romain is a unique clone of Gamay Noir that has evolved in this remote location in the highest part of the Loire Valley wine region in the Cote Roannaise, sometimes called the lost Cru of Beaujolais with its granite based well draining soils. The Côte Roannaise may be little known but the wines of Serol stand out, and as importer Floraison Selections they boldly and loudly speak for themselves, whether its the luscious, off-dry sparkling Gamay “Turbullent,” the delicate and precise bone dry still rosé “Cabochard”, or (to) the dense and spicy south-eastern exposed single parcel “Oudan” Gamay Cote Roannaise, this are impressive wines. This 2018 Eclat de Granite Gamay Cote Roannaise shows crushed violets and blackberries, a sanguine (iron rich) beefy note, black cherry, wild herbs, anise and spices in an elegant medium bodied wine that has warm ripe tannins and gives a soulful performance in the glass. This purple/ruby colored Gamay stays polished throughout and finishes with an earthy charm and stylishly vibrant, its a wine that gains interest with food and like Beaujolais enjoys a bit of chill when served, it is a wonderfully quaffable red to enjoy in the near term.
As mentioned, technically part of the Loire Valley but actually much closer to Beaujolais, the Cote Roannaise it is only about 50 km west of Morgon (Beaujolais) in the Monts de Madeleine, close to the Loire River’s source in the Massif Central. Gamay, as in Beaujolais, reigns supreme in this high elevation site, as noted, that is perched on a vein of granite, with Domaine Serol having an amazing set of old vine single parcels that capture nuanced expressions of terroir and make for extremely compelling wines, like this one. The Serol estate dates back to the 18th century and Stéphane is the 5th generation winegrower and his wife Carine have done much to elevate the recognition of Cote Roannaise. Serol have close to 30 hectares planted, the oldest vines are 80 years old and the domaine is certified organic, working with biodynamic principles, in the process of converting to full Demeter certification. The winemaking is traditional and everything is done to make them express place and in recent years they have gained in energy and are poised, but with playful rustic character underneath that adds a degree of authentic old world realism that makes these wines shine. I have been an admirer of Serol for a few vintages now and this one is a notch above the prior couple in my opinion and well worth searching out, especially Gamay Geeks like me. Ready to go now, this stuff has subtle nature and a nice finesse to it, less fruity that Beaujolais with a solid structural mouth feel, it pairs well with an array of flavorful cuisine choices and doesn’t need complication, simple is best, drink up.
($21 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive