Benjamin and David Duclaux

David & Benjamin Duclaux

VigneronBenjamin and David Duclaux
LocationTupin-et-Semons (Rhône)
Size of Domaine5.8 ha
TerroirContinental climate, Mistral (northern wind) influence. Decomposed granite, granite, gneiss, schist. Steep terraced vineyards overlooking the Rhône. 150-250m altitude.
ViticultureSoils are ploughed, no herbicide or insecticide, sulphur and copper against mildew/oidium although fungicide might be used in case of extreme pressure.
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Domaine Duclaux, run by David, president of the growers' syndicate and his younger brother Benjamin, has made big strides over the last five years.

The domaine was founded in 1928 and is now run by the fourth generation. They are based in the southern sector of the appellation in Tupins et Semons, and their main vineyard holdings are on the steep terraced slopes of Côteau du Tupin and Maison Rouge. The thin, sandy, gneiss derived soil is very prone to erosion, vineyard work is heroic (they have six full-time employees), with the brothers spending on average 1000 hours a year just repairing the walls lining the terraces.

There is a little viognier in their main cuvée of la Germine, but their finest cuvée of Maison Rouge is a 100% syrah. Their wines are pure and accessible in their relative youth (they largely destalk retaining on average 20% whole bunches), with a gentle extraction and well-judged élevage in a mix of fûts and demi-muids. Similar to the Garon’s Côte-Rotie, their wines show really well five years from vintage.

David & Benjamin Duclaux Wines

La Germine
95% Syrah, 5% Viognier
95% Syrah, 5% Viognier (13% alc.)
(13% alc.)

La Germine has a lovely, clear mid-red colour extending right out to the rim. Nicely stamped by a stony, irony flavour reminiscent of the gneiss, 2017 is a fine vintage with floral aromatics, and red fruits mingled with blackberries and liquorice. For drinking now to 2027.

Maison Rouge
100% Syrah
100% Syrah (13.5% alc.)
(13.5% alc.)

The Duclaux brothers make just five barrels of their top wine from vines planted in 1943 (also 1920s and 1980) at the southern end of the appellation on a punishingly steep, higher slope where the soil is mainly gneiss with a little granite. Here the vineyard is only planted with a massal selection of the low yielding 'petite sérine' strain of syrah. Destalked 80% and given a three-week maceration, it was aged in 40% new oak up to 5yo, mainly fûts with a few demi-muids. A darker colour than La Germine it offers a cool blueberry fruit with some liquorice, menthol and tar, and there is a real 'noblesse' to the fine-grained tannins with herbal bitters on the finish. For drinking to 2035.

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