Domaine Semaska, La Fleur de Montlys, AOC/AOP Cote Rotie, Rhone, France, 2003
This wine: limestone-clay soil, steep and south-facing, 90% syrah with viognier, fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel, then 30 months in new oak; natural cork closure – some cork side staining, but the cork remained very concave with the bottle mouth, 14% abv, Gauntleys, £39 (bin end – was £46, 2016).
Consumer tasting note: this wine needs decanting off the sediment, and then the bouquet is evident from a foot away, so quality is evident from opening. A pronounced nose of ripe black fruits, a deft toasty spicy oak dimension, and rich supporting notes of dried red pepper and tobacco. Good concentration follows into the very long black fruited lightly grippy finish … superb.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears.
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of slightly lifted blackcurrant, ripe black cherry, warm toast and spice, sweet tar and liquorice, cinnamon, dark chocolate, dried herbs, a slightly floral edge of violets, spicy red plum, dried red pepper, sweet tobacco, dried herbs and leaf humus.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, ripe well-integrated medium (+) tannins, high alcohol and a medium (+) body, a smooth texture, pronounced intensity, with flavours of ripe black cherry, black currant and black berry, dried red berries, toast and spice, black and red berry boiled sweets, dried herbs and liquorice. A very long length with a clean black berried, lifted by red berries, finish.
Quality: an outstanding quality wine, perfectly balanced acidity and well-integrated ripe tannins with flavour intensity, and alcohol pitched perfectly. Well integrated oak and bottle ageing add complexity, with tertiary development showing notes of dried red pepper and tobacco, chocolate and dried herbs. A very good but not outstanding concentration of flavour, nevertheless a very long length.
Readiness for drinking/ageing potential: can drink now, has potential for ageing, over say the next 2-4 years – a perfect structure, with development already quite advanced.