2012 La Sauvage Syrah
When Don & I visited the Northern Rhone in the cold winter of 2008 we tasted memorable Syrahs from the masters at la fête de la Côte Rôtie in Ampuis. Escorted by our friend and talented chef-owner of La Folie in San Francisco, Roland Passot, the afternoon became surreal when we were invited to Monsieur Guigal’s private cellar for a degustation we will not soon forget. It lasted hours but felt like just minutes.
Monsieur Guigal became a generous educator that day unveiling decades of wine making details and secrets to us; It was an epiphany and we certainly got a lesson on Syrah from masters of their craft, refining this superb cépage into powerful but elegant wines since Roman times. We took it all in and once back home went on our Soliste quest to seek an outstanding vineyard that would match what we had seen and learned in Ampuis. Our tenacious nature rewarded us when we came upon a stunning Syrah vineyard in Bennett Valley. Our first release of the 2008 vintage was an instant success, followed by the spectacular 2009 vintage. These superb Syrah reflect our commitment in the aging process, of over 33 months in barriques in the tradition of the Northern Rhone masters.
The 2012 vintage is remarkable – it certainly benefits from our experience of the 2008 & 2009 vintages and also from a gentle growing season with long hang time to create refined aromatics of exotic depth. (We did not bottle the 2011 vintage as it was not to our standards.) This Syrah is a muscular, powerful wine with trademark Soliste elegance, length and balance. It has the finesse of a great Côte Rôtie or Hermitage but the animal power of a Cornas. It also has the ability to age for decades.
Vintage Notes at a Glance
2012 was a gentle and ideal growing season. We harvested at first light and field sorted. This vintage was gently destemmed with some whole cluster reserved. Following a brief cold soak, smooth fermentation of small lots with ritual manual punch downs was complete before barreling into 450 liter Barriques for aging.
Our Syrah comes from a sliver of a vineyard in the Bennett Valley hills. The site has a western exposure, gravelly soil and sits on the side of a small mountain. This provides excellent drainage, even sun exposure, and a cool climate. The vineyard has a breathtaking view of the Santa Rosa plain and is meticulously farmed.
La Sauvage, A Very Rare Release
One Barrique, 100% Whole Cluster, 45 Month Élevage
From our first vintage of Syrah in 2008 we held a special barrel for an additional year of aging. The wine was hand bottled and La Sauvage was born – never to be sold, but given as special gifts for our friends and supporters.
La Sauvage, like our other exclusive single-barrel wines, is made only in vintages that we believe are exceptional. We did not select one in 2009, nor in 2011, and only time will tell if others will be found.
In 2012, we singled out a unique barrique with the purest aromas and structure. The wine was aged for 45 months (nearly four years) until the Beast was tamed. La Sauvage is extraordinary in complexity and depth; a great paradox of muscular aromas and silky texture. Only 200 of the 348 bottles will be released now and we will cellar the rest. Please check your allocation to acquire La Sauvage.
|14.9% alc. 348 bottles produced||By Extremely Limited Allocation 750ml $125