I am sure that some of you will have been following the ups and downs of Katie Jones and Domaine Jones, a tiny wine estate in the Langeudoc Roussillon. The ups include some very high ratings for her wines from wine critics and good distribution in overseas markets all within just a few years establishing her fledging Domaine. The rather depressing low point was the sabotage of an entire vintage of Katie’s Domaine Jones Blanc whilst she was out of the country exhibiting at Prowein 2013 in Germany. Fortunately Katie employs the “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” approach to life and this led to a successful campaign for the Domaine’s survival via pre-sales of wine from Naked Wines’ Angels and with the Rescue Range of wines, made from grapes sourced from sympathethic local vineyard owners, including the Apres La Pluie Le Beau Temps Rosé. So, what did Katie do next?
Domaine Jones La Perle Rare Syrah
Katie has not been idle! The size of the Domaine has now increased to 11 hectares of vineyards, including some planted by her husband Jean Marc, from Katies’s initial purchase of a single 3.5 hectare vineyard in 2008. New vintages of the Domaine Jones Red, Domaine Jones Fitou and Domaine Jones White have just been released as well as a very limited (600 bottles) single vineyard wine called Domaine Jones La Perle Rare Syrah. There is also a new limited edition white wine called La Perles de Jones Macabeu. The wine-making philosophy at Domaine Jones is to employ traditional, down–to-earth farming methods and innovative winemaking techniques to capture the characteristics of the terroir and the local area. Domaine Jones wines are only produced in very small quantities – this truly is boutique wine-making.
Domaine Jones La Perle Rare Syrah
So, La Perle Rare Syrah or The Rare Pearl. This is a new single vineyard 100% Syrah. Katie has recently acquired more vineyards in the village of Tuchan where her winery is located and many of Katie’s vineyards are planted with low yielding old vines with some up to 100 years old. They vineyards are planted with a mix of different grape varieties, co-planted in the same vineyard in place, which was a common way of planting in the early part of last century. However this wine is made from a single vineyard of Syrah grapes from Falandrin, near Tuchan, which was planted by Katie’s husband, Jean Marc, in 2009.
The vines were propagated from vine cuttings sourced from the Cote Rotie and the soil is a mixture of chalky clay and schist with good drainage and moisture retention. The grapes are hand-harvested and fermentation takes place in 2 open-topped 400 litre oak barrels. Destalking is done by hand and someone actually gets into the barrels to do the pigeage! After 10 days the wine is pressed and aged for 12 months in 2 new French oak barrels. Only 600 bottles produced.
Tasting Notes: La Perle Rare Syrah has buckets of spicy black fruit character on the nose. There are aromas of black raspberry, blackberry and spicy liquorice notes. There is also a background of smoky, toasty oak. The wine is full-bodied, black fruit flavours dominate the palate, yet La Perle Rare Syrah has a very elegant balance, good mouthfeel and a real freshness and purity of fruit Drink now, or cellar for 5 years plus, if you can wait that long!
Edit 29/06/18 La Perle Rare Syrah has now been joined by a white wine, La Perle Rare Grenach Gris.