Awarded 95 points and an Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 edition review of Northern Rhone 2015 (see blue link below).
Francois & Fils Cote-Rotie 2015 - February 2018 Decanter review
The François family have been traditional farmers for four generations - their main activity is making farmhouse cheeses from the milk from their twenty-five cows, which they sell at local markets across the Rhône Valley. They began bottling their own Côte-Rôtie in 1991, expanding it further when their son Yoann joined the business in 2004. Today, the François family owns four hectares in Côte-Rôtie. Grapes from the young vines are sold to négociants or are used for their earlier drinking IGP Syrah. Only the best and most expressive grapes are used to make their Côte-Rôtie.
The François family owns approximately four hectares of vines. Its Côte-Rôtie is made using grapes from three South-facing parcelles: 'Les Rochains', 'Rozier' and 'Le Bourrier' which account for about 1.5 hectares. All three vineyards are located in the 'Côte Brune' in the Northern Rhône. The vineyards are very steep, as they usually are in this area, and grapes can only be harvested by hand. The soil, mainly composed of mica-schist, is rich in minerals and has proven a good base for the 30-year-old vines of Syrah and Viognier. The vines are planted at a density of 8,000 to 9,000 per hectare and yields are 35 to 40 hectolitres per hectare.
Parcels were vinified separately and then blended to make a wine with great balance and layers of complexity. Both batches were aged for 18 months in 20% new oak barrels (228-litre and 400-litre), before the wine was blended and bottled. In the Côte-Rôtie tradition, it was made with 5% Viognier and leaving around 30% of the stems on the Syrah.
Superbly concentrated with aromas of blackcurrants, brambles and blackberries and a delicious jammy character. It is well structured with richness and good density. Spices linger on the long finish.