2013ClapeAmis2013 Domaine Auguste Clape, Le Vin des Amis, Vin de France, Rhone Red, France.
The Kermit Lynch imported star of Cornas, (the) Domaine A. Clape makes some of the world’s finest and most distinct Syrah, and these wines sell out very quickly, but savvy wine lovers looking for a value should explore Clape’s Cotes du Rhone and this Vin de France in particular, the Le Vin des Amis is a pure Syrah that way over delivers in quality and detail at the asking price. Even in a restaurant with high margins this wine makes an excellent choice, giving lots of terroir character, dynamic flavors and it has the added benefit of being a deep Syrah wine that doesn’t mind being opened young. The latest Le Vin des Amis, from 40 year old vines grown a ways away from Cornas on river stone soils, it is fermented just like the top cuvees with whole cluster and native yeasts in cement cuves, and while the Cornas wines go on the spend almost 2 years in big foudres, the Cotes du Rhone and this Le Vin des Amis are aged half year in old foudres (neutral wood cask) and 6 months in the cement vats before release. While the Le Vin des Amis misses some of the power and intensity of the granite soils, it makes for a pretty impressive Syrah non the less and this 2013 is wonderful and full bodied with a deep purple hue in the glass and beautifully transmitted detail and old world charm, this is very much a northern Rhone Syrah with a nose full of violets, scorched earth, lavender, iron/mineral notes, camphor and blueberry and concord grapey notes leading to a lush palate of blackberry, boysenberry, plum and fig paste along with black olive, celery seed, minty herbs, currant/creme de cassis, european salted licorice, crushed stone and peppercorns. The fruit lingers expressively on the finish and with air some some nice savory and meaty elements shine through, while the alcohol is at a low 12%, with modest tannins and fresh acids, making for a wonderful wine with all kinds of food choices, this wine is a winner, especially in this vintage, drink from 2015 to 2020.
($28 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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