2017 Domaine du Chene, Syrah, Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes, Northern Rhone Valley, France.
This fun and easy drinking Syrah from Domaine du Chene in Saint-Joseph comes from 35 year old vines just outside the AOC from the Chezenas vineyard, all organic and dry farmed, in St. Pierre de Boeuf with granite soils at 400 meters of elevation. This fruit forward and fresh version is a wonderful value red, it came from hand harvested grapes that underwent a fifteen day fermentation in tank with daily pigeage and pressed at dryness, all done with native yeasts. This Syrah saw a brief spell in well seasoned French oak cask to allow a bit of maturity and texture, but to preserve purity and freshness for early drinking. This vintage, warm and ripe is juicy with blueberry compote, crushed boysenberry, damson plum and sweet cherry fruits along with subtle savory elements, wild herb, graphite, anise and violets, this is not overly serious, but highly quaffable and nice companion to simple and or rustic food choices. This wine, a smile inducing 100% Syrah, would be a delight on a Fall by the glass list with hearty cuisine menu options.

Domaine du Chene, imported to America by Valkyrie Selections, who have savvy portfolio of old world producers, was founded n 1985 by Dominique and Marc Rouvière, who have their small cellars in Chavanay in the heart of the northern Rhône. According to Valkyrie, over about a decade, Domaine du Chene invested in significant renovations both in the vineyards and winery to producer elegant and terroir driven wines with a special focus on the estate’s premier 16 hectares parcels in Saint-Joseph and Condrieu. In recent years these Syrah and Viognier based offerings have drawn in a loyal following and Dominique and Marc’s children, Anaïs and Julien, joined their parents in 2012, helping raise the game here even further, the wines are not overtly flashy, but the quality and soulfulness shine through. For those looking for authentic character and well drinking wines, Domaine du Chene is very worth searching out, with this one being a very solid value and for more complexity be sure to check out their Saint-Joseph Rouge, which shows much more intensity, as well as the perfumed and textural Condrieu.
($16 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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