In much of the world, Syrah is a powerful grape that produces soft wines with jammy fruit and low tannin. But in Northern Rhône Valley, the grape takes on an entirely different style. Grown at its northern ripening limit, Syrah finds a more elegant and balanced expression on the steep banks of the Rhône River south of Lyon.
Many wines from the Northern Rhône require patience and investment. (If that’s your interest, don’t miss our new Cornas producer in the current May Futures.) Our source for Côte Rôtie, the Domaine Bonnefond, also makes classic, delicious wines that age beautifully.
But for readers with nearer term thirsts, Bonnefond’s Syrah is an exceptional value. It requires no patience at all, and at $25 only modest investment. It’s cool, crisp, and perfectly balanced — just the ticket for a summery red.
Robert Parker calls the Bonnefond Domaine “among the finest in the appellation,” and Vinous’s Josh Raynolds describes Bonnefond’s style as “extroverted” and “refined.” We have long marveled at their ability to achieve wines that are at once dark, intense, and lively. They have all the dark, meaty characteristics of Syrah, but with unusual lift and grace.
The 2016 Syrah “Sensation du Nord” from Bonnefond is, as one taster at the warehouse recently put it, “highly drinkable.” The nose is spiced and expressive, with notes of blackberries, tapenade, black pepper, and game. The mouth is beautifully balanced — at 12.5% alcohol it’s elegant and long, with dense plum fruits and graceful minerality.
With its fresh fruit and peppery mouthfeel this is excellent food wine — lamb and duck are particularly nice matches. But accompaniment isn’t required — an after-work glass of this on a weekday evening will reset your mood with ease.
Bonnefond Syrah 2016
Ansonia Retail: $30
6+ bottle price : $25/bot
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