Gorgeous Aromas – Stephan Pichat’s Syrah and Viognier


Aw shucks. We’ve been receiving a lot of praise lately from some of our customers in regard to our write-ups. We just want to say a big Thank You to all of you who read our write-ups with any degree of regularity! It means so much to all of us, and we greatly appreciate the compliments. Why just this morning, in response to our last email about finding 3 more hidden gems from Bordeaux, we were thanked for our time and effort in sussing out such value-driven wines. On Saturday, a customer who lived near our old Carolina Street location over five years ago came in with two friends in tow and made a beeline over to Anya. “I love reading your write-ups,” she gushed. “They’re written with such passion and they are so distinct that I can tell who was doing the writing. When I finish, I just want to lick the screen!” Wow! What incredible praise. We were very touched.


As reported in this past weekend’s email, we all visited the home of some very close friends of TWH for our annual Post Holiday Party. To say it was epic would be a massive understatement! During one course, which was paired with a three vintage vertical of Côte Rotie Les Grandes Places from Stéphan Pichat one of our hosts commented that he had never seen such passion. We were all swirling, sniffing and tasting each of the three glasses we had in front of us. The conversation was all about the wines; where they were in their development; where they were headed. “I can’t imagine any other group of co-workers doing what you’re all doing right now. You all love wine, and it shows!” Again, more praise. For that, we are very grateful.

The 2010, 2011, and 2012 Cote Rotie Les Grandes Places all showed extremely well, each framing the signature of its vintage. They are truly special wines from one of Côte Rotie’s top sites, made by one of the region’s top young winemakers! All three have very long lives ahead of them. We’ve had these remarkable wines for three vintages now, and they’re a bit spendy for regular staff tastings, but Stéphane makes some other wines that aren’t. When David visits Stéphane each year, he also tastes his VDF, or Vin de France wines, a Syrah and a Viognier. Both of these wines represent fantastic bargains and David has put in orders for them each year since we’ve begun working with Stéphane. Up until now, it was no dice. The wines sell out quickly and demand for them exceeds supply significantly. This year we got lucky. We got some. And guess what? They’re here.

The 2013 Domaine Pichat Syrah is a blockbuster of a Syrah with super expressive aromas. They are a solid core of deep red berry fruit, spice and earth that will freeze you in your tracks just taking them all in. I got to the sample first that day and somehow managed to keep a straight face afterwards. Watching Anya take her first sniff was an absolute delight. Her eyes widened, eyebrows went up, mouth agape, she exclaimed, “Now THIS is expression!” We were all quite taken by this magical wine. All of the fruit is from just outside Côte Rotie, but the price is so, so much more friendly!

For the 2013 Pichat Viognier, the fruit is sourced from a vineyard bordered on three sides by Condrieu, where Viognier has thrived since Roman times. Again, it is another aromatic masterpiece with all its floral expression with hints of apricot, peach, and rose petal. The palate combines all the aromatic complexity with a sweet kiss of crisp acidity and the whole package melts together and finishes in wonderful harmony. Again, an amazing wine for a very fair price.

We will let our collective passion continue to drive us into 2015, and there are some good things on the immediate horizon. Our Top Ten wines of 2014 will be announced soon and there is a fairly intimate Bordeaux dinner coming up. Bordeaux dinner? Yes, as the UGC de Bordeaux makes its way through the country, we’re going to team up with Château Brane Cantenac for a dinner at Piperade restaurant on Battery Street on Thursday, January 29 at 7pm. There are still some places available, but they’re filling fast. Five wines will be paired with five courses, and the price is $100 per person which includes dinner, wine, tax, and gratuity. In the world of Bordeaux dinners, that is dirt cheap! We’re expecting the dinner to sell out, so if you are interested, I recommend you contact me as soon as you can and I will provide further details. – Peter Zavialoff




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Filed under Cote Rotie, Peter Zavialoff, Syrah, Winemaker Dinners

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