Olivier Tropet took over from his grandparents at Domaine Pique-Basse back in 2000 and since then has established the estate as one of the best in the up-and-coming Roaix region in the southern Rhône.
The vineyards are up around the 300m mark which brings a lovely freshness and tension to the wines, and the Syrah for this particular cuvée comes from a tiny parcel at the very top of the domaine. The vines here are over 40 years old so yields are small, but the quality of the fruit is exceptional, even more so in a stellar vintage like 2015.
The domaine is organically farmed, so no herbicides or chemicals in the vineyard, the harvest is all done by hand and intervention in the winery is kept to a minimum.
In his 2015 Au Coeur de Ventabren, Olivier has created something quite exceptional. A beautifully balanced, complex and fresh Syrah with raspberry fruit, and notes of prunes, tobacco, spice and garrigue. It is silky smooth on the palate and passes the more-ishness test with flying colours.
Offered: June 2017
Price was: £18.95
Vintage report: 2015 was widely hailed as an exceptionally good year: “truly sensational” (Jeb Dunnuck), “rare and exceptional quality” (Michel Chapoutier). Rhône expert, John Livingstone-Learmonth was also brimming with enthusiasm, saying: “What struck me from the outset was how grown-up the wines were. At six weeks, they tasted like more finished wines of six months old. After six months, they tasted as if they had already received two winters of cellar raising.”
Drinking window: 2017 - 2023
Food matching: Olivier recommends letting it breathe for a couple of hours before drinking and says that it would be a good match for wild duck, game with a sauce Grand Veneur (huntsman’s sauce), or pigeon cassoulet.