Jean-Michel Stephan is a rising star in his region, known for his unfiltered and hypernatural Cote-Roties. His home and cellar are in the tiny village of Tupin-Semons at the base of the Coteaux de Tupin. Jean-Michel, a former assistant of marcel Guigal, is a quiet vintner who successfully combines tradition and progress. He began organic farming in the mid-1990s and now farms the entire estate organically. He cultivates the soil around the wood of the older vines with a pickaxe, hand-sorts the harvest, practices slow and soft vinification and ages his wines with minimal SO2 treatments – allowing his great terroir to reveal itself.
From only 4.5 hectares of AOC Cote-Rotie, 10% on Cote Brune and 90% on Cote Blonde, Stephan produces four cuvees of marked class, elegance and structure. While the average age of the vineyards is 50 years, some vines were planted as far back as 1900. At present, his plantings are composed of approximately 60 percent Syrah clone, 30 percent Serine (the small berry ancestor of Syrah) and 10 percent Viognier. The latter is being regenerated at Verenay where he has planted 500 cuttings which were grafted from an old massale plant. The majority of the domaine’s vines are in two perfectly situated hillside locations – the Coteau de Tupin and the Coteau de Bassenon.
|A single vineyard bottling from young Serine vines that Stephan planted in 1993 on steep, 50° granite
slopes. The wine undergoes semi-carbonic maceration with whole bunches to emphasize its fruit and is
aged 24 months in oak.