2013 Jean-Marc Lafont Les Serines Syrah, IGP Pays du Comté Rhodanien, France
Forgive the absence of label on the header’s picture bottle. For some reason the tasting sample I received didn’t have one. But this is what the normal label looks like:
To anticipate on the consequences of global warming, Beaujolais producer Jean-Marc Lafont of Domaine de Bel Air with a few of his friends planted on his South-facing granitic soil vineyards two grape varieties generally found further South in the Rhone valley: Viognier and Syrah.
From those, he makes two wines: the white Les Galopines from Viognier, and the red Les Serines Syrah reviewed here.
This Syrah comes from 6-year-old vines whose yield is carefully controlled.
The wine was aged for 12 months in oak wine barrels.
This Syrah comes in a rather dark color. Not extremely dark for a Syrah, but a deep red with distinct brown hues accentuating its darkness.
The nose is quite powerful, and more importantly very spicy and lifted by intense white pepper aromas. They are definitely the dominating notes, though some oak is there too: vanilla, hazelnut, burnt wood and a touch of smoke. Add discrete scents of blackberry and dark cherry and you’ve got the complete nose’s profile.
The palate is surprising!
It’s got some bite and body like a good Syrah. Solid tannic concentration, yet not overwhelming, medium body, it lacks in acidity to the finish.
Fruity red berry flavors of cherry dominate, with the white pepper and oaky spices.
Perhaps it is because as knew what it was while tasting it, it does feel like a heavy-weight Beaujolais, with the characteristics flavors of a Syrah.
It does taste like a good Syrah, but with somewhat of the slightly-watery feel some Beaujolais wines have.
The whole is enjoyable, fruity, oaky and spicy, smooth and approachable with acceptable concentration, but lacking the 5% magic for my palate. A very well-made wine though, that will please most palates and tease the curiosity of Beaujolais (and Syrah) amateurs.
A Syrah made in Beaujolais country, just North of the grape’s land of origin, comes with a great story worth sharing.