Inspired by Philippe Villiers de l’Isle Adam, the French Grand Master warrior-knight who took over Malta in 1530 after the loss of Rhodes to the Ottoman Empire.
This robust blend of Syrah (70%) with Cabernet Franc (30%) typically conveys forest-fruit on the nose with undertones of tobacco, black and bell pepper.
The vines were mostly planted in 2003 and the yield is restricted to up to 1.8kg per vine for the Syrah and up to 1.6kg per vine for the Cabernet Franc.
This wine is best stored and served at a temperature of 18oC and complements strong meat dishes, stews, and lightly spiced aromatic food.
All experimental vintages of this blend produced at Ta’ Betta since 2006 are still aging well, growing in complexity as the tannins soften with age.
Circa 12,000 bottles are produced annually depending on yield and weather conditions.
Decanting one hour prior to consumption is recommended.
Philippe Villiers Vintage 2017
Due to the heavy humidity at night in late August 2017, we decided to harvest the Syrah early in September alongside the Cabernet Franc: this to mitigate the risk of downy mildew setting in the intensely compact bunches of our Syrah clones. The fruit was already ripe and the sugar enough to yield 13.5% alcohol by volume.
Compared to older vintages of this blend, albeit still very young, this vintage is open, forthcoming, well-rounded and ready to drink. This said, its length in the mouth and structure augur that it will age with grace for at least a decade. It carries forest-fruit and plum on the nose with a subtle undertone of anise which tends to grow wild on this terroir. The spice of the Cabernet Franc comes through the ripe fruit of the Syrah.
As I taste this wine, I think moderately spiced lamb tagine, truffle, mushroom and gorgonzola risotto, roasted pumpkin, beef stew, BBQ…
Owners’ Tasting Notes – May 2019
Round, ripe, velvety with a great finesse. Beautiful fruit flavours (ripe strawberries and prune) with extremely soft/integrated tannins. Good balance already, very pleasant to drink!
Fabien Etienne – February 2020
Wine and Services Consultant
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