Paul Estève and Crystelle Vareille are the people behind Domaine des Miquettes, a small domaine in Saint Joseph with 2.6 hectares of Syrah and 0.4 hectares of Marsanne. Paul used to work at the Cave de Tain co-op, and he bought this vineyard in 2004. It’s in the south of the appellation on a high plateau, and this Syrah comes from a hillside vineyard with granitic soils and a bit of mica schist. Farming has been biodynamic since 2011. Paul fell in love with Georgian wine, and has created his own marani, but with a twist. He’s taken Spanish terracotta tinajas (amphorae) and buried them in the ground. This wine is fermented in them, then pressed, and then goes back inside for another year. There are no sulfite additions at any stage.
Domaine des Miquettes Saint Joseph 2020 Northern Rhône, France
14% alcohol. Intensely coloured, this has a brooding nose of peppery black cherry and blackberry fruit with some dusty, spicy notes and a hint of olive, and perhaps also a hint of beetroot. The palate is concentrated and fresh with some iron and blood notes, some peppery red and black cherry fruit, and a nice dry, tannic, savoury twist on the finish. Substantial, bold, and very true to place, finishing dry and grippy. There’s a lot of wine here, and it tastes very authentic, and despite the density, unforced. Tastes just as good on day two. 94/100 (UK agent Les Caves de Pyrene)
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