Sunday, October 25, 2009
No prizes for guessing that the Sirissime is 100% Syrah. But can you guess the meaning of Orris? I figured it's Catalan for Ours (bears): Domaine of the 3 Bears. Wrong. An Orris is a small, arched, dry-stone shelter used by shepherds during a storm. There are 3 of them on Joep Graler's remote, 12-hectare estate at Tarérach (Roussillon). The Syrah parcels from which this wine is made are at 600 metres in altitude on a granite arena.
Graler started making organic wine here in 2005, having determined that this terroir favours the maturity, finesse and elegance he was seeking. He harvests by hand, removes stems and presses the grapes by foot.
The Sirissime had a pre-fermentation maceration at 6°C, then temperature-controlled fermentation and a long cuvaison lasting 6 weeks. The cap was punched during maceration (also by foot) every two days - to avoid extracting dry tannins. The wine was matured in barrels and released in April '09. It is neither fined nor filtered, so expect a light deposit over the years (if you're inclined to wait).
The bottle has an unusual and attractive glass cork with plastic seal and metal capsule. So, what's the wine like? Due to a hail storm on 23 September, 2007, the grapes were picked slightly earlier than normal. Graler avoided extracting too
many green tannins and succeeded in producing a supple, spicy and fruity wine, with well-balanced oak. It went great with home-made vegetable curry, garlic nan bread, and dark chocolate for dessert. Retails around 22 € a bottle.