Leon Stolarski Fine Wines
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Online Wine Shop  >  Wines by grower - alphabetical  >  Saint Sylvestre, Domaine - Larzac

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Domaine Saint Sylvestre
Domaine Saint Sylvestre
I'm not quite sure how it was that I came to hear about Domaine Saint Sylvestre, although I have a feeling it may have been via their Facebook page. In any event, my interest was suitably piqued by the information I found and the images of their vineyards, scattered amongst the wild, oak-covered hills of the Terrasses du Larzac, near the village of Puechabon, ,just a few kilometres north-east of Aniane. This area is historically one of the real hotbeds of Languedoc fine winemaking, with such esteemed growers as Mas de Daumas Gassac, Domaine de La Grange des Pères and Domaine de Montcalmès all situated close by. Indeed, until 2010, most of the Saint Sylvestre vineyards formed part of the Montcalmès estate.

Vincent Guizard became involved in viticulture from an early age, working in the vines with his grandfather. In the late 1990's, he worked for a couple of vintages with Olivier Jullien at Mas Jullien in Montpeyroux. From 2003 to 2010, he was part owner, in association with Frédéric Pourtalié, of Domaine de Montcalmès. But at the end of 2010, Vincent decided to break away from Montcalmès, taking his 7 hectares of vines and creating Domaine Saint Sylvestre, together with his wife Sophie.

The Saint Sylvestre estate currently comprises around 8 hectares, in four separate plots, set in the wooded hillsides above Puéchabon, surrounding the 12th century church of Saint Sylvestre des Brousses de Montcalmès; "Fon de La Coste" is mainly Syrah, planted in 1989 on clay/limestone soil, with a north-west-facing aspect. "Saint Sylvestre" was planted in 1993, with Syrah and Grenache, on south-east-facing slopes, with a "topsoil" of galets roulés (similar to Châteauneuf-du-Pape). The largest plot, "Défriche de Rouges" (défriche meaning cleared forest), with a similar aspect and terroir, was planted by Vincent between 2000 and 2003, and comprises Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. It is worth noting that the wines resulting from each of these three plots are markedly different, providing a compelling argument for the concept(s) of microclimate and terroir - not to mention complexity in the final blend. And finally, "Défriche de Blancs", comprising Chardonnay, Roussanne and Marsanne, was planted in 2007, with an east-facing aspect, on limestone soil.

Although not officially organic or biodynamic, Vincent and Sophie prefer a sympathetic approach to viticulture, along the lines of "Lutte Raisonnée" (the reasoned struggle) and no synthetic fertilisers or herbicides are used in the vineyards. All of the work in the vineyards is done by hand, and they keep the yields very low (around 20 hl/ha) by way of de-budding and green harvesting. Fermentation is completely reliant on indigenous wild yeasts. For the red wines, each grape variety, from each plot, is vinified separately, with long cuvaisons of between 30 and 40 days, then aged separately for 2 years in used barrels (i.e. which have seen one or more previous vintages) before being blended 3 months prior to bottling. For the whites, each grape variety is pressed separately, with the resulting juice being blended and then fermented and aged in used barrels for one year. Bottling is carried out according to the phases of the moon. For an extensive report on our June 2013 visit to Domaine Saint Sylvestre, see the Leon Stolarski Blog.


Following the split from Domaine de Montcalmès, the first vintage Vincent and Sophie made together was 2011. And in the short space of time since then, their wines have rapidly gained something of a cult following amongst the cavistes of France. So much so that we have had to wait almost a year before we could get our hands on any at all (and then, just a few cases)! But now that we finally have our proverbial foot in the door, hopefully we can manage to secure more wines (perhaps even the whole range) in the forthcoming years. Meanwhile, these two beauties will have to do.......

Domaine Saint Sylvestre Blanc 2014 Languedoc
Saint Sylvestre Blanc 2014
Vintage
2014
Region Terrasses du Larzac, 25 km north-west of Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry white - full bodied, fermented/aged in barrel 12 months
Grapes 45% Marsanne, 45% Roussanne, 10% Viognier
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Chicken, fish with rich sauces, veal, cheese
Next day
Even better
Drink Excellent now, but will age for 5 to 10 years
This is grown (fairly) high up in the hills of the Terrasses du Larzac, 30 or so km north-west of Montpellier, where the nights are a little cooler and the growing season a couple of weeks longer than further south. Fermented and aged 12 months in barrel, it exhibits a gorgeously complex nose of apples and citrus, orange blossom, spring flowers and a lick of judicious oak. The palate offers juicy peach and apple flavours, with a touch of soft citrus, a hint of peppery spice and a lightly nutty/waxy texture, with a gentle richness offset by a touch of grape tannin and fabulous acidity. A really lovely wine, and for a top Languedoc white, worth every penny.
Only 1 bottle left in stock.
 

Price:  £21.95 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine Saint Sylvestre Blanc 2016 Languedoc
Saint Sylvestre Blanc 2016
Vintage
2016
Region Terrasses du Larzac, 25 km north-west of Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry white - full bodied, fermented/aged in barrel 12 months
Grapes 45% Marsanne, 45% Roussanne, 10% Viognier
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Chicken, fish with rich sauces, veal, cheese
Next day
Even better
Drink Excellent now, but will age to 2024 and beyond
Grown high up in the hills of the Terrasses du Larzac, 30 or so km north-west of Montpellier, where the nights are a little cooler and the growing season is a couple of weeks longer than further south. A limpid medium-gold colour with green glints, it has a considerably complex nose that exhibits all manner of white fruit, honeysuckle/floral and herb aromas, with hints of curry spices and woodsmoke. The palate is the epitome of restrained power and complexity, with ripe peach, apricot and apple flavours, laced with honey, lemon and a hint of tangy licorice. The texture is gently oily, with a modicum of grape tannin, ample acidity and just a hint of warming spice on a very long finish. This is the result of brilliant winemaking and really does have that "wow" factor - and indeed is more than a match for many more expensive Rhône whites.
Very limited stocks (our allocation is tiny!) - maximum 3 bottles per customer.

 

Price:  £22.99 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Domaine Saint Sylvestre Blanc 2017 Languedoc
Saint Sylvestre Blanc 2017
Vintage
2017
Region Terrasses du Larzac, 25 km north-west of Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry white - full bodied, fermented/aged in barrel 12 months
Grapes 45% Marsanne, 45% Roussanne, 10% Viognier
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.5%
Food Chicken, fish with rich sauces, veal, cheese
Next day
Even better
Drink Excellent now, but will age to 2025 and beyond
New vintage - tasting note to follow.
Very limited stocks (our allocation is tiny!) - maximum 3 bottles per customer.

 

Price:  £23.99 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine Saint Sylvestre Rouge 2011 Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac
Saint Sylvestre Rouge 2011
Vintage
2011
Region Terrasses du Larzac, 25 km north-west of Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged in barrel for 24 months
Grapes 70% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre
Alcohol (a.b.v)
15.0%
Food Grilled or roasted red meats, game, charcuterie
Next day
Even better
Drink Can be drunk now, but will age for 10+ years
A deep, semi-opaque colour, with a powerful nose - a complex and heady array of black fruits, fresh bread and exotic spice aromas, with notes of leather and woodsmoke lurking in the background. Even after a full 2 years in barrel, there is just the merest hint of (older) oak, which only serves to heighten the fruit aromas, whilst further nuances of preserved fruits and fine eau de vie emerging with air. The palate is deeply concentrated and crammed full of flavour, in a spiced, baked fruit kind of way - rich, warming and almost a meal in itself. It is certainly good now, but is really only just starting out on a long journey of evolution - I'd say 10-plus years to maturity - with just the right levels of juicy acidity and rich tannins. Young, but with a great future ahead of it.
 

Price:  £20.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine Saint Sylvestre Rouge 2014 Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac
Saint Sylvestre Rouge 2014
Vintage
2014
Region Terrasses du Larzac, 25 km north-west of Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged in barrel for 24 months
Grapes 70% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.5%
Food Grilled or roasted red meats, game, charcuterie
Next day
Even better
Drink Can be drunk now, but will age for 10+ years
A clear, bright, translucent cherry/blood red colour. The nose is massively complex, intoxicating and suggestive of a very fine wine, offering an initial whiff of freshly-baked bread, followed by aromas of black cherry, bramble, curry spices, coffee grounds, sous bois and fine eau de vie. The palate is all about restrained power - quite rich and ripe and laden with peppery-spicy red and black fruit flavours and grippy but ripe tannins. But all of this richness is balanced by an abundance of orange peel/cherry kernel acidity and tangy, saline minerality, with myriad secondary notes of forest floor, a certain herby/meaty savouriness and a long, lingering, spicy/minty finish. All-in-all, this is the finest vintage yet of Saint Sylvestre's red - and whilst lovely to drink now (and even better after a day or two in the decanter), it will age and evolve for a further 5-10 years. A fabulous wine.
 

Price:  £21.25 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Domaine Saint Sylvestre Rouge 2015 Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac
Domaine Saint Sylvestre Rouge 2015
Vintage
2015
Region Terrasses du Larzac, 25 km north-west of Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged in barrel for 24 months
Grapes 70% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.5%
Food Grilled or roasted red meats, game, charcuterie
Next day
Even better
Drink Irresistable already, but will evolve to 2025 and beyond
A delightful clear, bright, medium blood red colour, fading to a pale rim. Super-complex on the nose, with masses of herb-tinged raspberry, redcurrant and soused cherry aromas, mingled with notes of damp earth, leather and burning incense. The palate is fresh, vibrant and full of lively, sweet-sour red and black fruit flavours. And even at the advertised 14.5% abv, it is so supremely balanced and elegant, with a backbone of very fine tannins and mouth-watering acidity. There's a gentle earthiness and just a touch of herby/spicy savouriness, with a long, cool, minty, sour cherry finish that lasts for an age. This really is a wonderful example of cool-climate Languedoc red wine - think "Burgundian" in style and texture, but with a touch of southern warmth for good measure. We have been importing from Domaine Saint Sylvestre from their first vintage (2011) and this, in our opinion, is the best vintage so far. A very fine wine indeed.
 

Price:  £21.95 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine Saint Sylvestre Rouge 2016 Languedoc
Domaine Saint Sylvestre Rouge 2016
Vintage
2016
Region Terrasses du Larzac, 25 km north-west of Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged in barrel for 24 months
Grapes 70% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.5%
Food Grilled or roasted red meats, game, charcuterie
Next day
Even better
Drink Irresistable already, but will evolve to 2025 and beyond
A bright, deep-ish blood red colour, with a narrow rim. It is uber-complex on the nose, with masses of bramble, redcurrant and dark cherry aromas, with notes of damp earth, leather, roasted red meat, burning incense and a lick of fine, toasty oak. The palate is absolutely crammed full of rich, ripe, intensely concentrated black and red fruit flavours - so concentrated, in fact, it is almost chewy in texture. And yet it still manages to be balanced and - even at this early stage - shows genuine elegance and complexity, with rich, ripe tannins countered by ample acidity. The finish is spicy, gently warming, juicy..... and very, very long. Although this will undoubtedly age and evolve for a good many years (I'd say to 2026 and beyond) it is already a joy to drink.
 

Price:  £22.75 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Mailing list
Our list is constantly evolving, so if you would like to receive our occasional e-mail newsletter (around 8 times per year) click the logo >>>>


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Minimum order value, delivery charges, times and restrictions
We deliver only to UK and Northern Ireland addresses. The minimum order value is £75 (plus the delivery charge). You may of course choose a mix of any wines in our range. Orders between £75 and £200: delivery charge is £7.50. Orders over £200: delivery is free! (If your order is over £200, please remember to change the delivery charge in checkout to £0.00). Please note: Delivery to non-mainland addresses (Scottish Highlands and Islands, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, etc.) is usually possible, but may not be on a next-working-day basis. It is also more expensive than delivery to mainland addresses, so will be charged at cost (for orders under £200) but with a small discount for orders over £200 - please call us for a quote.

Warning - you must be aged 18 or over
It is an offence to purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol if you are under the age of 18. (Section 149 Licensing Act 2003).We reserve the right to seek proof of age. Leon Stolarski says "drink less, but drink better!" Please consume alcohol in moderation.