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"Given the historically high interest in ‘natural’ products of all types, it’s no surprise that wines made with lower than normal levels of sulphites would begin to develop a following. This is especially true in France, where a handful of talented young winemakers are producing some of the most exciting wines in their appellations by taking a ‘non-intervention’ approach to winemaking. It’s a high stakes gamble that requires enormous attention to detail, along with a fresh approach to traditional cellar practices. One of the acknowledged leaders of the movement is Thierry Allemand of Cornas, whose ‘Cuvée Spécial’ Cornas is thought to be the benchmark example of Northern Rhône Syrah. Allemand has kindly shared his winemaking ideas with us over the years, encouraging us to try these techniques with our Syrah. We have recognized his role by naming the resulting wine ‘Cuvée d’Honneur’. Our Cuvée d’Honneur Syrah took a dramatic step forward in both complexity and intensity. The production remains small, by necessity -- less than 10 barrels. We crush these grapes by foot -- not by machine -- and we include the stems in the fermenting must with the grapes. After racking the wine to barrel, no SO2 is added until bottling, and the wine is not fined or filtered. The aroma is a striking combination of multiple spices, with earthy tones of bacon fat and leather. The real charm, though, is the underlying fruit. Big, grapey and supple, this wine is a textbook example of the heights reachable with old world technique and new world fruit." -Winery [+]