Quintessential Northern Rhône Syrah

Today’s Story: Domaine Faury

Domaine Faury is a family-owned and operated Northern Rhône wine estate, established in 1979 by Philippe Faury. Though Philippe’s father, Jean, settled the family in the tiny hamlet of Ribaudy in the hills of Chavanay, his wine production was somewhat limited and often sold in bulk to locals alongside peaches, cherries, and apricots. When Philippe took over, however, he transitioned the estate to focus entirely on wine production and grew the 2.5 hectare holdings over time into the 17 hectares the Faury family owns today. In 2006, Philippe’s son Lionel took over management of the estate and the two work side-by-side crafting traditionally made and terroir-centric wines. Dedicated largely to Syrah with smaller plantings of Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne, Domaine Faury owns vineyards in the appellations of Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, and Saint-Joseph as well as IGP Collines Rhodaniennes.

Lionel seeks to produce wines with a true sense of place while also showcasing the signature characteristics of each variety. Winemaking is therefore rather minimally invasive, starting with gentle crushing and temperature-controlled fermentations onto pigéage (punch downs) by foot rather than machine or tools. To preserve the more delicate and floral aromas of his wines while offering an accompanying freshness, Lionel eschews the overt use of new oak and instead opts for a combination of very large old barrels such as demi-muids and foudres. Attention to detail and an artisanal approach to winemaking is palpable in these wines, and production is capped at around 7,000 cases per vintage.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Côte-Rôtie Emporium

+/- 98% Syrah, +/- 2% Viognier; 13% ABV

The 2019 Côte Rôtie Emporium is medium purple in color. I decanted this for an hour and drank it over the following two hours, with it only becoming more impressively nuanced over time. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, showcasing notes of blueberry, black cherry, blackberry, violet, sweet tobacco, smoked game, crushed rock, graphite, black pepper, and roasted coffee. Meanwhile the palate is of medium (+) intensity, displaying flavors of brambly blackberry, blueberry, plum, black olive, blue and purple florals, charred green herbs, iron, a hint of smoke, and mild baking spice. This dry red is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium but refined and silky tannins, medium alcohol, and a long finish.

Price: $100. While this may not be the best “value” of Northern Rhône, I struggle to recall a wine I’ve had that has been this spot-on of a representation of the variety and the region. This is a gorgeous, gorgeous wine with elegance, finesse, and a magnificent perfume already at such a young age.

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