The wines from Côte Rotie are among the greatest wines in the world. Côte Rotie translates to “roasted slope” due to the amount of sunshine the steep slopes receive. The appellation is south-facing and not greatly affected by northerly winds, and has a temperate continental climate similar to that of Lyon: winters are mild, summers hot, and rainfall is regular. The “Mediterranean” influence can be felt in the “drying” southerly wind. While it proved resistant to phylloxera and other diseases, the Great War of 1914-1918 claimed 150 winemakers, meaning some of the hillsides fell out of use. In 1960, only 60 hectares of production remained, but the 1980s saw the vineyard’s revival. The appellation was given fresh impetus and acquired international renown. Almost all of the vines are planted on metamorphic rocks: pressure and temperature – which are higher in the south of the appellation – have created three different terroirs: mica schists in the north, Gneiss to the south, and migmatite at the south-eastern tip. In Côte-Rôtie, the parent rock contains a large number of fractures that provide the vines’ roots with access to the water and minerals contained therein.
Terroir: "La Vialliére" is renowned 1-hectare single-vineyard. The parcel is notable for its highly decomposed mica schist soil. This shallow friable soil gives the wine its structure, finesse and exceptional elegance. The average age of vines is 20 years. This wine is only produced in favorable vintages.
Varietal: 95% Syrah complemented by 5% Viognier, adding pretty floral notes. Cote-Rôtie is the only red cru in the Northern Côtes du Rhône to plant Viognier (up to 20%) alongside the Syrah. The Syrah produces quality wines, with rich colors and tannin content. In Côte-Rôtie, viognier complements the Syrah with finesse and aromas.
Vinification: Severe pruning, leaf plucking, and if necessary a green harvest, to ensure low yields of healthy ripe grapes (AOC authorizes 44hl/ha but Bonserine averages 30-35 hl/ha.) Hand-harvested and sorted three times to select only the best grapes. Fermentation triggered by its own wild yeast. The yeast present naturally on the skin helps the terroir to express itself. At Bonserine, the philosophy is to work "as naturally as possible", both in the vineyard and in the cellar. All vineyard work is conducted following sustainable practices; in all its vineyard farming, no herbicides, chemicals or pesticides are employed. Maceration lasts four weeks; the goal is to do more pump-overs than punch-down in order to extract the noblest tannins. Aged 24 to 30 months in demi-muids (100% new oak).
The main difference between "La Sarrasine" and "La Viallière" is the greater quality of tannins, finesse and elegance provided by "La Viallière". On the mouth, the wine express aromas cigar and violets. Medium to full-bodied, the wine is rich, well concentrated with a great finish.
2013 vintage: The spring was cold and rainy making it hard for the vines to grow. But luckily, great Summer conditions helped the vineyard be back on track. The grapes were harvested late, mid-October, but they express a fantastic phenolic maturity.
Pairing: Ideal with poultry, grilled red meat and cheese.
Score: 92 PointsWine Enthusiast Author: Anna Lee
Warming skeins of cinnamon, smoke and charcuterie tangle into black cherry and raspberry in this rich, silken wine. Aged in new oak, its lavishly accented by vanilla and chocolate, along with mouthcoating, deeply integrated tannins. It drinks well already but should improve till 2028 and hold further.
Score: 93 PointsThe Wine Advocate Author: Joe Czerwinski
While Bonserine's La Sarrasine is a blended wine, the 2013 Cote Rotie la Vialliere is sourced from a single vineyard on the Cte Brune. It shares a similar gorgeous nose of cracked pepper, clove and cinnamon but adds greater fruit richness and more supple tannins to the mid-palate. Flavors of blueberry, blackberry and roasted meat end on a long, savory-spicy finish. It should have a longer drinking window than the La Sarrasine.
Score: 92 PointsVinous Author: Josh Raynolds
Opaque ruby. Powerful black and blue fruit, licorice and violet pastille aromas, plus peppery spice and mineral notes that build with aeration. Sappy, sharply focused blueberry and cassis flavors put on weight on the back half while maintaining vivacity. A mineral quality comes back strong on the very long, vibrant finish, which is shaped by harmonious tannins that provide gentle closing grip.
Score: 94 PointsWine Spectator Author: James Molesworth
Offers a beautiful display of steeped raspberry, crushed plum and blackberry reduction flavors, layered and long, while black tea, anise, warm ganache and Black Forest cake notes fill in the background. Dense and grippy, but keeps a sense of polish, allowing the fruit to sail through the remarkably long finish. Best from 2019 through 2034.
Sporting a glass-staining purple color, the 2013 Cote Rotie la Viallire was mostly destemmed and will spend upwards of two years in a combination of demi-muids and new Burgundy barrels. Plums, smoked meats, licorice and hints of vanilla all emerge from the glass, and this medium to full-bodied, rich, beautifully concentrated effort has high quality tannin and a great finish. Give it a few years to integrate its oak component and enjoy bottles through 2030.
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