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Posted by Chris LaBranche on


We’ll stick with the Rhône–it is still the dead of winter after all–and explore a smoky, contemplative Syrah (based red) from a region mostly known for rosé. Virtually all Southern Rhône reds are Grenache dominant and only rounded out in small percentages with Syrah, and sometimes Mourvèdre. This is partly because in this warm, Mediterranean climate Syrah can often get over ripe and overly rustic–especially when compared to the excellent Syrahs produces in the Northern Rhône. Winemaker Florian Andre’s novel approach to Syrah-driven southern Rhône red is a breath of fresh air. Rather than striving to make a deep, broody expression of red that most search for in this neck of the woods, Florian instead vinifies searching for fresh fruit and drinkability. But this is no Beaujolais lookalike. It is herbal and mineral, with an unmistakably Provençal character to it.


On the nose, ‘La Belle Étoile’ reels you in with its unmistakably savory Syrah flavor componenets. Coming from the glass are aromas of black olive, fresh thyme, and blueberry. On the palate, though, you’ll find snappy acidity framing tart blue and black berry fruit characters, alongside subtle notes of smoked meat and tobacco. This is a wine best served cool, and with just about anything where red would be appropriate. It is especially delicious with our recipe for Beef Empanadas with Olives.


Florian’s winemaking and farming check all of the boxes we look for. Certified organic? Yup. Fermented only with native yeasts? Naturally. Picked early to ensure balance and acidity? You bet. ‘La Belle Étoile’ is a blend of Syrah and Grenache (80/20% respectively) sourced from vineyards near the Tavel appellation–the only one in France that exclusively produces rosé.

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