Jean-Michel Stephan - 2018 - Coteaux de Bassenon
Jean-Michel Stephan - 2018 - Coteaux de Bassenon

40% Syrah, 40% Serine, 20% Viognier

Cote-Rotie, France

As a teenager, Jean-Michel left home to work in the vineyards for a certain M. Brun in the Beaujolais, where he discovered a passion for vineyards and winemaking, as well as a friendship with the young Jean-Paul Brun. In 1986, Jean-Michel decided to plant his own vineyards and produced his first harvest in 1991. For the first few years, he sold the grapes off to Guigal, then eventually produced his first wine in 1994. The following year, he began certified organic farming, though the vineyards had been farmed as such since the beginning. Soon after, he was invited by his Belgian importer to pour wines at a salon held at the famous Cantillon Brewery, where he met other natural wine pioneers like Marcel Lapierre and Philippe & Michèle Aubèry of Domaine Gramenon for the first time. He learned that there were other people searching for a way to produce natural wine without any additives, and was inspired to continue his work to craft these wines in Côte-Rôtie, while integrating into a movement of like-minded producers. It took him many years (and several wrong turns) to perfect his risky sans sulfites (no added SO2) style, but a taste of any of his bottles promises to convert any lover of Syrah or Northern Rhône wines. In 2017, his son Romain joined the domaine, and together, they planted an additional five hectares outside the Côte-Rôtie appellation in the nearby towns of Roussillon, Verin, Condrieu, Ampuis, and Chasse-sur-Rhône.

Côteaux de Bassenon is the most southerly vineyard in Côte-Rôtie, and is sometimes labeled Côteaux de Semons. Vines planted in 1896 (which would make them the first vines planted after the phylloxera epidemic). Granite & dark composite gneiss with biotite soils. Carbonic or semi-carbonic fermentation with native yeasts and no added SO2. 24 months in used barrels from the Tronçon forest. Unfined / Unfiltered with no SO2 added.