Domaine des Grabottes, Côtes de Lyons Rouge
Domaine des Grabottes, Côtes de Lyons Rouge

Domaine des Grabottes, Côtes de Lyons Rouge

Rhône, France
Regular price$32.00

Domaine des Grabottes, Côtes de Lyons Rouge

The city of Lyon is the second largest metropolitan area in France, and along with various industries it’s widely considered to be the culinary mecca of a country that all but invented fine dining. So, it’s somewhat surprising that the local wine region is almost entirely unknown outside of rustic Lyonnais bistros, but we are out to change that today! The Côteaux du Lyonnais, to the west of the city, is right at the beginning of the Northern Rhône, but borders southern Beaujolais to its north. It’s a best of both worlds that, at its best, produces wines with the energy and drinkability of Beaujolais, and the spice and depth of the Northern Rhône, and today’s discovery from a former chef turned rising star in natural winemaking is among the very best examples. Deep, richly exuberant fruit meets layers of earth, game, and pepper in a joyous wine that is completely unlike anything else: Really, you must try it to believe it! But you can only try it if you act fast, there’s very little made and we are the only place in the U.S. where you can find it.

Jonathan Garnier was on track to become a very successful chef, having risen to the rank of “second” at the Michelin starred restaurant “L’Alexandrin” in the France’s epicurean stronghold of Lyon, at a very young age, but after ten years in the kitchen he hung up his apron to open a wine shop and pursue his passion for all things coming from the vine. That passion led him to oenology school and then to return to the countryside of his youth in order to find a few parcels to farm and make his own contribution to the world of naturally made, terroir driven wines. Of course his childhood home wasn’t in Burgundy or even the Loire Valley, but right outside Lyon in the obscure appellation of Côteaux du Lyonnais. The lack of a brand name appellation didn’t deter Jonathan, instead he set out to make the best wine of the region. And after tasting, our conclusion is he succeeded in droves!

Though the Côteaux du Lyonnais hugs the very northern extension of the Rhône, the soils here are loaded with much of the same granite as you find in the Crus of Beaujolais, and the dominant red grape is Gamay. However the climate and the culture are tied to the Northern Rhône, and to the traditional and hearty dishes of Lyon. When you combine this with Jonathan’s preference for organic farming, low yields, aging on the lees and in bottle for a few years prior to release, and a focus on structure you end up with a wine that surpasses all but the very top Cru Beaujolais. And it has surprising undertones of gamey, earthy sauvage that makes you swear he adds a bit of Syrah to this wine (he doesn’t). 

Not only is Jonathan committed to organic farming, but he also works with a very hands-off approach in the cellar. The grapes undergo a 12 day semi-carbonic maceration before being whole-cluster fermented with indigenous yeasts. The wine is racked once back into steel tanks to age on the lees for 10 months before being bottled without fining and just a light filtration. The result is wine that is super clean, and classically built, but still finds easy love at the natural wine bars of Paris and Lyon. Serve it cool, at around 55-60 degrees in a Burgundy stem and unlock the unique beauty of this hidden gem of a wine: Black raspberry, brambleberry, red currant, crushed violets, black peppercorn, smoked meat, olive tapenade, and saline minerality all underpin a silky-soft texture with just a hint of tannic grip. It’s perfect for a classic bistro burger, BBQ pork ribs, or a classic Lyonnais dish of sausage and potatoes. This is truly a distinct experience, from a very tiny production estate and very talented winemaker. Don’t miss it!

Domaine des Grabottes, Côtes de Lyons Rouge

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