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Stephane Ogier 'Reserve' Côte-Rôtie, Rhône Valley, France 2015

  • $145.00

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Domaine Michel & Stephane Ogier 2012 "La Belle Hélène" Côte-Rôtie, Rhône Valley, France

  •  Winemaker: Stephane Ogier
  • Variety: 97% Syrah, 3% Viognier
  • Farming: Organic
  • Terroir: Granite & Sand, 40+-year-old vines from 11 parcels across 3.5 hectares of Brune & Blonde vineyards.
  • Vinification: Hand-picked, 70% destemmed, 30% whole cluster. Native fermentation in separate lots in stainless steel, aging in 20% New French Oak barrels for 20 months minimum.
  • Scores: 95 Points, Wine Spectator (11/21/2019)

From our Q2 2023 Serious Inquiries Club:

Domaine Stéphane Ogier, Côte-Rôtie Réserve, Rhône Valley, France 2015

Stéphane’s father Michel was known for decades as a master of Côte-Rôtie, Cara’s favorite appellation of the Northern Rhône Valley.  While the Ogier family has been tending vines in the Northern Rhône for generations, this winery began in 1982, as before that, Michele Ogier sold his beautiful fruit to the likes of Guigal and Chapoutier. Starting in 1998, the Domaine was renamed M&S Ogier, as Michel’s son Stéphane started taking more control in the cellars as his father aged. Since 2014, the estate has been known as Stephane Ogier.

Côte-Rôtie is often thought of as two Syrah subregions separated by the Rhône River, unique soil type, and distinctive style. Le Côte-Blonde is located in the northern part of the Côte-Rôtie where there is lighter, sandy soil with a higher percentage of granite. Côte-Blonde wines are often more delicate and elegant, with a nuanced aroma profile of violets, red fruit, spices, and a dusty earthiness with a silkier tannin profile. On the other hand, Le Côte-Brune, located further south, is marked by dark, iron-rich schist that retains more heat. Côte-Brune wines are fuller-bodied and more powerful, with a complex aroma profile of black fruit, smoked meat, pepper, leather, and cocoa. The tannins in these wines are often more prominent and structured, contributing to a long finish on the palate.

Stéphane Ogier tends 27 acres of vineyards in both the Brune and Blonde, notably famous sites such as Lancement, Côte-Rozier, and La Viallière. Each year, Stéphan vinifies his individual plots separately. This helps him see, barrel by barrel, vintage by vintage, the potential each parcel has. This wine, the Côte-Rôtie Réserve is a careful blend of 40+-year-old vines from 11 parcels across 3.5 hectares of Brune & Blonde vineyards.

Before the commencement of blending, the wine must first be made. Stéphan and his crew harvest everything by hand, picking only the best bunches in the vineyards, and then again hand-sorting the grapes in the winery. A little Viognier is always picked up, as some have been co-planted through the years. 70% of the grapes are destemmed, while 30% are left as whole bunches. The grapes then see a cold maceration in a stainless steel tank, allowing the juice, skins, and bunches to gently extract color, flavor, and aroma compounds. Fermentation begins naturally on native yeasts. After primary fermentation, the wines are moved to French oak barrels, 20% of which are new, for 20 months for aging. Finally, the finished wines are tasted, blended, and bottled.

The 2015 vintage is considered to be one of the best in recent memory for Côte-Rôtie. The Réserve  has deep, dark flavors of fig, black currant, smoked meat, dark chocolate, and loads of pepper. There is a cool, light, spicy herbaceousness, too, and a ribbon of dark minerality. It is rich, with full-bodied texture and firm tannins, and impeccably balanced, with the alcohol content hovering around 13.5%.  This wine is seductive but meant to age, so try to restrain yourself and not open this too early. I wouldn’t even think of opening it until 2025, and even then, it would need a long decanting. This could be a wine you pull out in 2035 for a very special meal or gathering and the reward of a perfectly aged bottle of Côte-Rôtie will be worth the wait, trust me. — Cara Patricia