Domaine Serre Besson Village: Vinsobres Appellation: 4ha Vinsobres Growers: Victor Taylor Xavier Nyssen Website: https://serre-besson.com/ Downloadable PDF The hilltop village of Vinsobres is situated between the Pré-Alpes and Mont Ventoux in the northeastern corner of the Côtes du Rhône “méridionale”. After having been classified as Côtes du Rhône Villages, Vinsobres was elevated to “Cru” status in 2006, becoming the first in the Drôme department. The majority of Vinsobre’s vineyards were planted as a result of the devastating frost of 1956 which wiped out the village’s olive groves, giving the appellation a high percentage of old vines. The vineyards range from 200 to 500 meters in elevation and Vinsobres’ unique terroir is considered by many to be the finest for Syrah in the southern Rhone. Victor Taylor is an American wine professional who somehow wound up in the remote town of Nyons in the Drôme department (had to be either a witness protection program or an addiction to olive oil). In 2011, not far from Nyons, he stumbled upon some old vines sloping away from the Vinsobres plateau with a breathtaking view of Mont Ventoux and a “for sale” sign. Let us just say that after 5 years of relentless effort he and his partner, Xavier Nyssen produced their first vintage in 2016. The 4 hectare domain lies at an altitude of 450 meters in the “lieu dit” called “Les Côtes”. The soils are a mix of clay, limestone and river stones rich in calcite. Victor and Xavier began farming organically in 2016 and have now obtained certification. In the same year they built a small winery into the side of the mountain allowing them to use gravity rather than pumps to move their crushed grapes into the fermentation tanks. They harvest by hand and follow that with a manual sorting of the grape bunches. The bunches are then de-stemmed before being fed into cement tanks. Fermentation is done with indigenous yeast. Vinsobres Domaine Serre Besson is the lucky custodian of old vines. The vineyard slopes down from the forested mountain crest with the Syrah planted at the highest elevation and the other varieties continuing down the slope. The Vinsobres 2017 is a blend of 51% Grenache, 34% Syrah, 7% Cinsault, 6% Mourvedre, and 2% Carignan. Each variety and each parcel are fermented separately with blending done the following spring. The wine is matured partially in cement tanks and partially in 400L oak ovals.