Stéphane Ogier, of Domaine M&S Ogier d'Ampuis, is one of the rising stars in the northern Rhone Valley wine region. Having wanted to become a winemaker since the age of six, he is the epitome of purpose, passion and drive.
Ogier's family has been growing grapes for seven generations but they sold the fruit to acclaimed producers Guigal and Chapoutier. After disputes with negociants (brokers) in 1980, however, Michel Ogier decided to make his own wine.
His son, Stéphane, took over the operations in 1997. Trained in Burgundy from the age of 15, Ogier Jnr brings a decidedly Burgundian approach to winemaking. He believes the varied terroir in Côte-Rotie bears many similarities to that in Burgundy, the main difference being the topography; Burgundy is fairly flat while the northern Rhone vineyards, given over mainly to syrah grapes, are planted on steep slopes.
The Burgundy wine board defines a " lieu-dit" as a "geographical place with boundaries" and Ogier has incorporated this concept into his winemaking philosophy, believing that every parcel of land is special. His top wines come from single vineyards and are receiving rave reviews. He describes Lancement as his Musigny, exhibiting the wine's elegant, delicate, floral style. La Belle-Hélène, next to Guigal's legendary vineyard, La Landonne, is his equivalent to a Gevrey-Chambertin. The wines are concentrated and powerful.
M&S Ogier d'Ampuis, Condrieu La Combe de Malleval 2013
A good vintage, 2013 produced wines with high levels of acidity. Cool climate conditions meant that white grapes were harvested in mid-October, even later than the red varieties.
Orange blossom, apricot and floral notes. Elegant and vibrant with lively acidity. This wine is the antithesis of big, heavy, oily viognier. HK$350
M&S Ogier d'Ampuis L'Âme Soeur, Syrah de Seyssuel 2012
Seyssuel is an up and coming region that is exciting wine producers. Ogier believes that Seyssuel wines have the potential to surpass the quality of the Côte-Rôtie. Modestly labelled as a vin de pays (country wine), the bottles offer terrific value for money. Made from 13-year-old syrah.
Notes of dried herbs, thyme and sage with spicy black fruit. Lighter body, approachable, with a ripe core of fruit and ripe tannins. HK$350
M&S Ogier Côte-Rôtie Réserve 2012
A blend from 17 parcels located in the Côte Brune and Côte Blonde. Ogier describes the wine as a prémier cru in terms of quality. Using 2010 as his quality benchmark rated as a perfect vintage, Ogier says that 2012 has a similar character. The wines are "precise, elegant and need some time to show their best".
Restrained, elegant notes. Quite rich with soft tannins and finishing very long. Will age for at least 10 to 20 years but drinking well young. HK$550
The wines are available from altayawines.com