2017 Domaine Serol, Gamay, Cote Roannaise “Eclat de Granite” Loire Valley, France.
Stephane Serol is making some compelling wines from his upper Loire Cote Roannaise estate from Saint Romain clone Gamay, these are wines that defy regional landscapes and should be almost considered a iconic individual appellation or maybe considered a lost Cru Beaujolais on par with Morgon or Cote de Brouilly! Especially this 2017 Eclat de Granite which is plush and expressive much in the same way Dutraive, Lapierre, Sunier, Thivin, Chanrion and Thevenet are with plenty of intense Cote Roannaise mountain tannin and structure. Minerally detailed, this beautifully clear Serol Gamay has a deep sense of varietal, place and remote wildness, Stephane has captured his place in the bottle to near perfection. Vivid purple, magenta and ruby/garnet in the glass the Eclat de Granite is bursting with vibrancy and dark flavors showing flinty spices, herbs, violets and walnut complexities to go along with a core of blackberry, blue plum and bing cherry fruit, adding a touch of grenadine, straw and tart blood orange as well as a faint trace of stony/earthiness in an absolutely balanced wine that really delivers exceptional quality. One of the best vintages from Serol, it combines a lovely and graceful medium bodied palate and a flowing almost seamless stream of Gamay flavors, textural pleasure and a vivacious personality, easy to love from start to finish. Serol, who’s Domaine sits at high elevation not too far from the Loire’s source at the Massif Central, has some 80 year old vines and is the fifth generation to farm and make wine up here, he and his wife Carine have made this wild almost forgotten land a serious place to search out. Stephane employed partial whole cluster and traditional fermentation with his 2017 Eclat de Granite and raised it in a combination of neutral cask and tank, again to add live, grip and sense of place and while non carbonic it has a pop of juicy fruit and some nervy coil from the limited use of stems, this is almost impossible for Gamay lovers to resist and Burgundy fans will also grudging and maybe secretly adore this stuff as they do with producers like Foillard! Serol works all organic and is almost finished converting to full biodynamic practices in the vineyards and in the cellar and uses ultra low sulfur, rather than niche him as a natural winemaker, I’d say he is committed to his land and passionate in everything he does, drink his 2017 Eclat de Granite over the next 3 to 5 years, if not longer.
($22 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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