The site was planted in traditional goblet with three different types of old syrah clones selected for complexity and genetic diversity, highly prized, indigenous sérine clones. Viognier was also planted with respect to the traditional composition of Côte-Rôtie, playing an important role in the final blend of Grand Saint-Cyr, averaging around 10%. The result is an incredibly elegant, fresh, and energetically classic wine. Less rôtie, more fruits frais et sous-bois.
Grand Saint-Cyr consists of a single, contiguous amphitheater of southeast-facing vines on a hillside where the slope can reach a 50% grade, requiring the creation of numerous handmade stone terraces and exclusively manual work of the vines. The terre brune soil of the site consists of mica and schist in which the source rock is sometimes only a foot beneath the soil. Côte-Rôtie is an unforgiving terroir and it was for these reasons that the plot was originally abandoned. The project has been farmed organically since the beginning and previously the plot was forested, so the vineyard has never seen chemical treatment. They are currently in the multi-year process of obtaining organic farming certification. Soil cultivation and harvests are carried out exclusively by hand.
The philosophy in the cellar is one of respect for the quality of their terroir, with a natural fermentation utilizing native yeasts and sulfur added judiciously at fermentation, depending on the vintage. No sulfur is added at bottling. Owing to Aude’s long relationship with the renowned Guigal family, the entirety of the production is fermented and aged exclusively in used Tonnellerie Château d’Ampuis barrels. Needless to say, the prestige of the barrels is fitting to the seriousness of the site.
The flagship Grand Saint-Cyr Côte-Rôtie is a co-fermented blend of 90% syrah and 10% viognier with the inclusion of ripe stems during fermentation. It spends 18 months in used Tonnellerie Château d’Ampuis barrels before bottling without added sulfur. With an average production of around 3,000 bottles, Grand Saint-Cyr Côte-Rôtie is a rare, glorious snapshot of a place and vintage, delivering the elegance and patience of its stewards, Aude and Hervé. If you are as big of fan of perfumed and complex northern Rhône reds as we are, Grand Saint-Cyr is a welcome addition to the pantheon of great wines of the region.