It is a rare thing to find a young domaine that has recently planted its own vineyards in the prestigious appellations of the Northern Rhône. Graeme & Julie Bott are creating something special here. Winemaker Graeme is from Auckland and after winemaking jobs in Hawkes Bay and Waiheke he came to France to discover Syrah in its finest terroir, becoming winemaker at Stéphane Ogier for eight years.
It was here he met Julie, the winery’s sales manager and a Northern Rhône native. Their first three vintages were made in their tiny garage, but they now have a cellar in Ampuis and their own vineyards in the schist and granite terroirs of Condrieu, Côte-Rotie, St-Joseph and Seyssuel.
Their Crozes-Hermitage is a truly lovely thing, but then many Crozes-Hermitages are! This is a special one. Like the best it combines the earthy underbelly of Hermitage with a fruit-forward levity that's a joy to behold. It spends a year in French oak barrels but this just broadens the wine, softens Syrah's tannins and still allows those lovely fruit flavours to take centre stage, like the lead singer to a reliable backing track.