Most Northern Rhone wines flow in and out of markets with little fanfare. It’s the curse of one of the world’s greatest wine regions that most consumers simply do not understand subtle cool-climate Syrah. Beef it up with oak and extract then you will get attention (see Chapoutier). But attempt restraint, you will be overlooked unless a market has enough serious geeks to support the niche.
Being a relatively small market, Vancouver rarely sees too many Northern Rhones. The super wealthy haven’t caught on as they have recently Burgundy, so prices are still moderate for the quality. That is, if you can find the wines.
Return of a Top Rhone Producer
Domaine Courbis is one of the top producers in the Northern Rhone and is therefore able to secure a wider distribution than most. Even so, the wines are not that easy to come by. This is a shame as in my view they represent everything one would want from a restrained modernist style that is affordable.
Courbis was last in Vancouver about 5 years ago when Marquis used to import them. They didn’t sell well at the time and went on discount. Hopefully now that they are back in the market we can expect greater persistence.
Syrah The Way its Meant to Be
This 100% Syrah St. Joseph is planted in chalky-clay and granitic soils close to the Cornas AOC. It is ideal entry level Northern Rhone Syrah made in a modern but restrained style. You can not go wrong pairing this with summer grilled meats in their various forms.
Now I await the various single vineyard Cornas bottlings return to this market.
Very Good+ to Excellent
$44 (tax included)