We reserve our biggest boats for the most prime catches. Today that means Jean-Michel Stephan's first-time cuvée from Syrah vines planted just outside Côte Rôtie's zone. This 100% Syrah, labeled Vin de France, was the most transcendent find for us in a long time. At $39 per bottle, this wowed us for its Côte Rôtie-like concentration of blackberry fruit, roasted meat notes, with loads of lavender and black pepper––the intensity we're accustomed to finding in bottles well over $75.
Maison Stephan's Syrah comes from just one hectare of vines in Ampuis and Chasse-sur-Rhône. As is the norm here from a Marcel Lapierre disciple, Stephan relies on carbonic and semi-carbonic fermentation with native yeasts and zero additives. Unfiltered and unfined without sulfur. Aging six months in stainless steel means this 2022 harnesses the primary fruit from the sunny growing season and has a fresh streak on the finish that screams granitic minerality.
We see this as an ideal option for holiday feasts with chicken, pork, beef, and lamb, and it will also be brilliantly served with a slight chill once we enter spring and summer 2024. We love Syrah, and this is our value champion of 2023.