Domaine Jean-Michel Stephan
"Coteaux de Tupin" Côte Rôtie 2020
95 pts Vinous (Josh Raynolds)
Inky ruby. Powerful, mineral-accented aromas of ripe black and blue fruits, candied violet, olive paste and exotic spices. Densely packed and lively on the palate, offering bitter cherry, boysenberry, allspice and smoky bacon flavors that show excellent definition and unfold slowly with air. The blue fruit and floral notes drive the impressively long, juicy finish, which is given framework by chewy, slowly building tannins. All Serine vines.
For over a decade, Jean-Michel Stephan, a resolutely organic/bio-dynamic domaine, has been developing a full-on cult following of natural wine enthusiasts. But the “natural wine” description shouldn’t imply a not unjustifiable fear of overt funkiness, at least these days. That was not the case back then, when Stephan’s wines were as out there as Côte-Rôtie could get. Today, Stephan produces from 4.5 hectares of vines, plus another five outside the appellation. A large, modern winery was built next door to the original Tupin-et-Semons cellar that came online just in time for the 2021 harvest. I do not doubt that this will help the family further enhance their wines’ already increasingly high quality. Prices have been moving upward rapidly. While Stephan’s wines (made with as little sulfur as possible and often with some carbonic maceration) still lean to the wild side, they are now significantly less feral than they were in the past.