Nicolas Badel Vin de France ‘Intuition’ 2015 $39.99
Moving northward now, we move to the Collines Rhodaniennes appellation. A large appellation encompassing hills and valleys throughout the Northern Rhône beside the Rhône river, it is the source of many growers’ entry-level wines. But not for Nicolas Badot. Though Nicolas crafts some of the most elegant, low-intervention Saint Josephs around, it is his Vin de France ‘Intuition’ that is perhaps his most profound Syrah. (I should note, that in an homage to Côte Rôtie, Nicolas does have a small percentage of Viognier co-planted in the vineyard). In what is likely simply an oversight when appellation lines were drawn, the vineyard that produces intuition is one of the region’s great terroirs on a plateau high above the river, replete with sandy granitic soils and ideal exposure. And, keep in mind that this terroir was long-recognized as great, having been a reclaimed vineyard site from Ancient Roman times. The result is a seriously unique wine, and one that blends aspects of all the best from the region–from the rusticity of Côte Rôtie and Cornas, to the elegance of Hermitage. We are pleased to have sourced a bottling of Intuition with a little bottle age, having had just a bit of time to unfurl in bottle, as all great Syrah must.
Nicolas farms organically, harvests by hand, and ferments only with native yeasts. After destemming, and a long skin maceration, the wine ages in old Burgundy barrels for nearly a year. We approach this wine at five years of age, only starting to develop subtle hints of maturity, with still vibrant notes of blueberry compôte, roasted herbs, and earth. The tannins are silky and well-integrated, with ample acidity and freshness. Though this wine could go another 5-10 years easily, you won’t want to miss out on its beauty now–just grab more later if you enjoy it! Try it with roast or braised leg of lamb for a traditional and fantastic pairing.