2021 Christelle Betton ‘Caprice’ Crozes-Hermitage, Rhône Valley, France (750ml)

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The domaine was established in 1976 in the village of La Roche de Glun. Winemaker, Christelle Betton is the third generation of her family to work with Syrah in the northern Rhône region of France. Her vineyard holdings, farmed by her father and grandfather before her, total 15 acres in Crozes-Hermitage and one-third acre in Hermitage. The vines are cared for organically, although not certified. The soils are alluvial and rocky, with "galets roulés" commonly found along the Rhône River valley—most notably in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In naming her wines (“Mischievous,” “Whimsy,” “Elixir”), Christelle describes the range of emotions that her craft inspires—and that her wines deliver.

This 2021 “Caprice” bottling is 100% Syrah from a selection of fruit from the domaine's oldest vines, 30–40 years of age. The grapes were hand-harvested and placed in cold storage for 24 hours. Fermentation was in tanks with indigenous yeasts, and gently crushed by foot. The resulting wine was aged in older French oak barrels (sourced from white Burgundy producers) for one year; and was bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Lovely aromas of red and black fruits laced with violets. Beautifully structured, with a fresh, juicy palate, bursting with blackberry, blueberry, red plum and nectarine. Graceful and fleshy with fine-grained tannins and a long, lip-licking finish. Syrah in this style occupies a delicious mid-point between the relative delicacy of Pinot Noir and the power of Cabernet Sauvignon. We candidly don’t understand why the variety isn’t more widely embraced in the US.

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