Located in the north of Côte-Rôtie in Verenay, northeast of the town Ampuis, Domaine de Bonserine is owned by Ets. Guigal, but it is absolutely independent with its own winemaking, commercial and logistics team. The domain today owns 27 acres of vineyards in Côte-Rôtie and about 2.5 acres in the Condrieu appellation.
Planted in some of the best terroir plots in the Côte-Rôtie appellation in both Côte-Blonde and Côte-Brune, the domain has holdings in the lieux-dits (places) of Les Moutonnes, La Viallière, Le Champin, Leyat, Fongeant and Planèze; in Condrieu, it owns vineyards in les Eyguets and la Grande. Soils there are mostly schist, mixed in with iron and mica. All vineyard work is conducted following sustainable practices; in all its vineyard farming, no herbicides, chemicals or pesticides are employed.
The Syrah grape is by French AOC regulations the dominant and only red grape variety allowed in the Northern Rhône appellations, including Côte-Rôtie; however up to 20% Viognier is also permitted. Domaine de Bonserine produces three single-parcel wines from Côte-Rôtie, and one from Condrieu. (A single-parcel wine in CôteRôtie is a relatively rare practice where wines blended from multiple plots are the norm.) From Côte-Rôtie comes Domaine de Bonserine La Garde: Released in only the best vintages and from the Domaine’s best lieu-dits, this wine is 100% Syrah. (See left.) The Domaine’s La Sarrasine is a blend of 97% Syrah and 3% Viognier, the grapes are 100% destemmed. The wine is aged in 60% new French oak for up to 24 months. On average, 2,500 cases are produced each year.
The third red is the Domaine’s La Vaillière: This wine is 95% Syrah-5% Viognier and grown in a single parcel of very old vines. It is aged in a combination of demi-muid (160 gallon) barrels and smaller new Burgundy oak barrels up to two years before bottling.
The Domaine’s Condrieu, whose 100% Viognier vines are raised in granite soils, is suffused with minerality. With an intense, perfumed nose, this rich white wine offers floral notes of violets and apricot flavors.