There’s some anticipation surrounding the latest release of this wine. I’m not one for getting too paranoid about vintages in general, particularly for wines under the €10 mark, but for a lot of people it is important. According to a number of loyal followers, the new release Dignité Syrah 2009 tops the 2008 vintage already, and if pressed I would probably concur with that.
Eric Monnin’s Dignité Syrah has been one of our best selling wines since we’ve been in business. I suppose when you you’re able to retail it for the same price or less than what you’d pay in Roscoff, you’re onto a winner, both as a retailer and a customer. It shows that the French retailers think they have a wine on their hands that is punching well above its weight, and they’d be right.
Eric is not a winemaker who lives off a name or a reputation, as sadly many do these days, both in France and further afield. He is happy to be known as a rogue winemaker or a ‘garigiste’, making small quantities of high quality juice outside of the constraints of appellation laws.
I caught up with Eric to ask him how he’s been getting on since we last met. Here’s what he had to say…
Out of the four vintages of Dignite Syrah you released to market, which one do you think was the best and why?
Let says that 2007 was a superb vintage as the conditions for pre-vintage, vintage and post-vintage were perfect. We had the right amount of rain and heat so at the harvest stage the grapes showed good health. But I have to say that 2009 is close to 2007. As 2009 will show very soon it’s got great character. Maybe it needs a little more time than ’07 to open up.
From where do you source the fruit for Dignite?
I source the grape from Minervois in the Languedoc.
The 2009 vintage has just landed with us. How were the weather conditions for this vintage and did you have any problems? Was it better than 2008?
The conditions were very favourable. Mild spring and a hot summer. The grapes had ripened perfectly by the time they were harvested. Cold nights and long days with good sun. Yes, better than ’08 because of the conditions. Harvest was a bit later.
Did you make any changes to your winemaking formula?
No I didn’t. I did the same as with the ’08 and ’07. The wine spent 22 months in 225 litre French barrels. 80% went into older barrels (3 & 4 years old) and 20% more recent (1 & 2 years old).
Are you submitting the wine to any wine competitions? If so, are you hopeful of any medals or accolades?
Not this time, as ’09 was still ageing so we couldn’t apply for the Syrah du Monde. And ’08 was gone!
What stage are you at with the 2010 and 2011 vintages?
2011 is ageing but looks very positive and I feel rather confident. But not easy to taste at the moment as the wine is fast asleep. 2010 is high in concentration and still ageing.
The new Dignité Syrah 2009 is now on sale.