A little known vineyard site which is steadily gaining more attention and rave reviews. This certainly competes with Cote Rotie and perhaps offers fleshier, more rounded fruit. In time, we will all become very aware of this area… Very impressive and for now, fairly priced.
Fergus Stewart, Private Account ManagerDomaine Stéphane Ogier
The 2011 L’Âme Soeur is as good as ever. Produced from vines grown on micro-schist in Seyssuel north of Côte-Rôtie on the left bank of the Rhône, this has become a serious cuvée despite its relatively young 13-year-old vines. Seyssuel is an area were the first Roman vineyards were built and it lay barren after the destruction of the vineyards by phylloxera at the end of the 19th century. The vineyards are steep (up to 50⁰ gradient like Côte-Rôtie itself) and were first replanted in 1996. 14 growers are now located in Seyssuel and in 2012 they all applied to receive AOP status. L’Âme Soeur is rich and spicy on the nose, with good mouthfeel and flavours of rich warm exotic fruit on the palate. As the vines grow older, this cuvée is becoming more and more exciting.
Sara Guiducci, Private Account Manager
We know all about Stéphane’s reputation in Côte-Rôtie. He is also burdened with the mantle of being the leading producer in the ancient Seyssuel vineyards above Vienne. Micro-schist gives this an extraordinary wine a Côte Blonde elegance, with violets, dense, dark fruit and very finely etched tannins causing one to consider withdrawing the statement made at the end of the La Rosine note above. This too is currently a Vin de Pays, but it is sure to be promoted to full appellation status soon.
Simon Field MW, BBR Buyer
Stéphane Ogier is now, arguably, the leading producer in Côte-Rôtie. Confident, modest and courteous, in short he is the perfect ambassador for the appellation. Stéphane now farms 12 parcels in Côte-Rôtie and has also launched a well-named Côtes du Rhône (Le Temps est Venu which we will sell elsewhere). He held his nerve through the rainy patches in September and the relatively late-picking has been rewarded with a superb range of wines. Stéphane compares their style, with more acidity and less alcohol than usual, to 2006, a vintage which has developed very nicely indeed.
Domaine Stéphane Ogier
Even more striking is the 2011 Syrah l’Ame Soeur Vin de Pays, which comes from micro-schist soils near the village of Seyssuel. A dead-ringer for a Cote Blonde Cote Rotie, this cuvee may be the greatest vin de pays I have ever tasted. The entire area, which should receive appellation status sometime in the future, is a total of 75 acres of vines owned by 13 different proprietors. Interestingly, in the mid-1800s, before phylloxera destroyed most French vineyards, there were over 250 acres of vines in this region. The 2011 l’Ame Soeur is a small, 8,000-bottle, 100% destemmed cuvee that smells like the great La Mouline from Guigal. Gorgeously fruity and rich with lots of exotic fruits, a huge perfume, and amazing texture as well as length, this is a quintessential example of an over-achieving wine.
Stephane Ogier, tall and blond with rugged, Brad Pitt-like good looks, is the next generation of young, ambitious, well-traveled children from family-owned estates. Learning his trade and working next to his father, who is now fully retired, Stephane Ogier has moved confidently and dramatically to expand this estate from the Cote Rotie holdings to their vineyards that go into La Rosine and those from Seyssuel that go into l’Ame Soeur. He has also added a St-Joseph cuvee from a small parcel of vines in Malleval, next to his Condrieu holdings. Moreover, readers should not forget the recent white wine offerings from Ogier. The great success for the 2011s is attributable, as Ogier says, to harvesting seven days later than just about everyone else in Cote Rotie, in addition to aggressive green harvesting and farming practices in the vineyards. This is evident across the board as these are some of the finest 2011s I tasted in the Northern Rhone. Ogier has 12 separate Cote Rotie parcels spread along the hillsides of the Cote Blonde and Cote Brune. The 2011s were harvested between September 16 and October 8, and because of Ogier’s conservative farming practices as well as the courage it took to wait to harvest until after the rains, the quality of the fruit is outstanding.
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #204, Dec 2012