The Flavor of Syrah, the Texture of Pinot
As I sit here today, a bottle of this wine open next to me, my mind wanders back to some of the finest, earlier vintages of this wine that I’ve tasted. The wine I’m tasting and writing about today is the phenomenal 2017 Domaine Durand Saint Joseph Cuvee Lautaret. Delicious doesn’t do it justice. The 2017s are rock stars! And this one, this particular cuvee, continues its run as the Durand Brother’s finest cuvee from the granite terroirs of Saint Joseph. Before I continue, I’d like to share some words from the experts:
“A head turner that punches well above its price point is the St Joseph Cuvee Lautaret. Coming from granite terroirs and aged in small barrels, its inky purple color is followed by sensational notes of cured meats, bacon fat, olive and spice.”
~ Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate
“One of the most profound St.-Josephs I have ever tasted, is Durand’s Cuvee Lautaret, a potentially legendary effort with an inky/blue/purple color as well as an extraordinary nose of acacia flowers interwoven with graphite, blackberry liqueur, raspberries, cherries, smoke, and minerals.”
~ Robert Parker
The Durand brothers make lush, fruit driven wines in a modern vein but they are also concerned with preserving vibrancy. Their top cuvees, for example, are usually more understated than the basic bottlings. “We don’t want the taste of wood in the tete de cuvee,” says Eric. As for the general house style, he adds: “We want the flavor of Syrah and the texture of Pinot; we don’t want hard or dry wines. We seek maximum maturity so that the wines will be supple and round.”
~ Josh Raynolds, Vinous
“One of my favorite estates in Cornas (although the domaine is in Châteaubourg), Domaine Durand is run with incredible talent and passion by Eric and Joël Durand, who also get consulting help from Fabien Ozanne. This estate falls in the quasi-modern camp and produces beautiful wines that have pure, clean fruit and classic profiles. In general, the wines are mostly destemmed and the new oak percentage falls into the 15-25% category. These are terrific wines that offer pleasure in their youth yet also age gracefully.”
~ Jeb Dunnuck
So, you can see why I was so driven to acquire these amazing wines, the Saint Josephs in particular. They offer all the complexity, flavor saturation, extraction, and that WOW factor of neighboring Cornas and Crozes Hermitage, but for a fraction of the price. If you’re a fan of world class Syrah – balanced and beautiful – DO NOT pass this one up!
Wine Spectator: Fleshy and forward in feel, with a hint of ganache leading steeped plum and raspberry fruit along, accented by singed alder and licorice root notes. The solidly grippy finish pulls everything together. Needs a touch of cellaring. Best from 2020 through 2032. 340 cases made, 50 cases imported.
Jeb Dunnuck: The top Saint Joseph, the 2017 Saint Joseph Lautaret comes from older vines from the southern part of the appellation (near the village of Châteaubourg) and was brought up in 15% new French oak. It has a juicy, fresh, yet concentrated style to go with vivid dark berry fruits, crushed rock, graphite, and ground pepper notes. This terrific wine will benefit from short-term cellaring and keep for over a decade.
Domaine Durand Saint Joseph “Lautaret”