About This Wine...
This wine, according to Stéphane, is his ‘Cheval de Bataille’ (war horse) – the one he produces in the greatest volume and therefore the one that needs to hit the spot time and time again. It does. This is the epitome of what he is trying to achieve – made from 100% Syrah it is tremendously elegant, displaying flavours of cassis, raspberries and black pepper. It has a silkiness and texture than is reminiscent of a Burgundy Pinot Noir.
Whereas many wine producers take a lifetime to make wines of note, at thirty eight years of age Stéphane Ogier is already a regional hero for the Northern Rhône Valley. Stéphane showed great promise from an early age, receiving 100 points from Robert Parker for his Côte-Rôtie ‘Belle Helene’ 1999 when he was only twenty two but it is in recent years that his talent has begun to mature into a confident, consistent brilliance.
Stéphane studied in Beaune for five years and it is clear the influence that Burgundy has had on his style of wines. He has adopted pragmatic approach to his vinification process, partially de-stemming for some cuvées, doing pre-fermentation cold soaks when required and mixing the length of the barrel ageing, particularly after the first year, depending on the vintage and the quality of the fruit. Extraction for his reds is achieved by gentle pump over and the occasional déléstage and skin contact is usually limited to the length of the alcoholic fermentation.
Much of his success however is not due to the brilliance of his wines from the famous appellation of Côte-Rôtie but rather to his exploration and development of hitherto unfashionable and long ignored areas of Vin de Pays in the Northern Rhône. The huge following for his wines from the six hectare La Rosine vineyard situated between Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu has subsequently encouraged many other growers in the area to seek out similar types of land for planting. After recent purchases the domaine’s vineyard holdings now cover just over 17 ha: 3 1⁄2 in Côte-Rôtie, the 6 ha on the right bank of the Rhône and one and a half ha in the exciting, newly re-planted vineyard area of Seyssuel to the north of Vienne, on the eastern side of the Rhône. He also owns 1.2 ha of Condrieu in the southern part of the appellation and in 2010 ventured into the Southern Rhône with a 5 ha purchase at Travaillan on the Plan de Dieu.