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Duclaux La Germine Cote Rotie 2012

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Côte-Rôtie is one of the most famous of the northern Rhône appellations and starts around the town of Ampuis, just half an hours south of the bustling city of Lyon. It is the northernmost outpost of the Syrah grape in France.

Cote-Rotie translates as ‘roasted hillside’, as the south-facing slopes are exposed to maximum sunlight. The appellation covers 500 hectares with 200 hectares of vineyards stretching over 8 killometers.  Vines have been planted here since Roman times although the appellation was only created in 1940.

Côte Rôtie is centred on two hillsides, the Côtes Brune and Blonde, around 300 hectares to the immediate North and South of Ampuis.  At the heart of the different terroir’s of the two hillsides are the soils which on the Côte Brune are darker due to the presence of iron and clay, while on the Côte Blonde they are lighter due to sand, some slate and limestone. Not surprisingly this influences the styles of wines, the wines of the Côte Brune are generally denser, more substantial and structured, while those of the Côte Blonde are finer and more elegant.

Many consider Côte Rôtie as the finest wine of the Rhône Valley. They are certainly wines for the long haul - from a good vintage many will be at their best when fifteen or twenty years old. Côte Rôtie When young are elegant, perfumed and have an attractive aromatic finesse about them. With age the perfume turns wild, with hints of game, sous-bois, mushrooms and hints of tar.

Domaine Duclaux, run by David, president of the growers' syndicate and his younger brother Benjamin, has rapidly improved over the last five years. They put in immense work in the vineyards, with six full time employees for 5½ hectares of vines, battling against unrelenting erosion to produce an average of just 19000 bottles a year. Their compensation for all this effort is that they produce some of the finest, most elegant terroir driven wines emanating from France today.

The vineyards of domain Duclaux are entirely situated in Tupin et Semons and in the southern sector of Côte-Rôtie and they have holdings in the following terroirs — Maison Rouge, Coteau de Tupin, Tupin, le Collet, Coteau de Bassenon, Pimotin. The soils here are Gneiss and much softer than the granite soils further North. 

Their winemaking style utilizes little new oak, but they believe in 100% de-stemming and the aging of the wines in 500-liter demi-muids, and occasionally smaller, used 228-liter casks. About 5% Viognier is co-fermented with Syrah for the La Germine, and their flagship wine, Maison Rouge, is 100% Syrah from the Cote Blonde.

This is a special source of traditional Côte Rôtie from two hard working brothers working great terroir. In many ways the exemplary work of the Gonon brothers in St Joseph come to mind when I think of the frères Duclaux. Say no more

Additional Information

Volume (ml)750ml
Winemaking PracticesMinimal Intervention
Vineyard PracticesOrganic/Biodynamic
Product typeWine Red Shiraz
RegionRhone Valley
Sub-RegionCote Rotie

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