Archive for the ‘Crozes-Hermitage’ category

Yann Chave Crozes-Hermitage 2006

December 22, 2008

img_50932The story of Domaine Yann Chave is similar to that of many wineries in this appellation: an ambitious young son joins his father in the family business, stops selling grapes to the local cooperation in Tain while improving viticultural practices by using organic standards and drastically cutting back yields. The new approach has clearly paid off, resulting in impressive wines from both Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage and making this domaine one of the northern Rhône’s fastest rising stars. Chave’s standard Crozes-Hermitage is all about maximum expression of fruit with basically no oak  used. Fragrant and intense aromes of violets, blackberries and spices follow through to a medium-bodied palate with a round and supple mouthfeel, grainy tannins, bags of ripe fruit and very well balanced acidity. The peppery finish gives this wine plenty of regional personality. 89 points

Source: The Prince/Swanbourne Cellars  Price: $60  Drink: Now-2011


Gilles Robin Cuvée Alberic Bouvet 2005

June 23, 2008

With just over 1200 hectares Crozes-Hermitage is the biggest appellation in the northern Rhône. it is clear that an area of this size produces a great variety of styles. At the cool northern end wines tend to be more subtle and fragile while the ones from the warm south are rather big and sturdy. Gilles Robin’s flagship Cuvée Alberic comes from a zone called Les Chassis, an ancient riverbed of gallets and clay left behind by the mighty river Rhône. Combined with mature vines and yields that are kept well below the permitted maximum the quality of the fruit is excellent, allowing Robin to mature the wine in partly new barriques for approximately 15 months without losing balance or finesse. On the nose the oak plays a prominant role with loads of vanilla, olives and bacon perfectly complementing plums, raspberries and blackcurrants. The same characters follow through on a sleek palate with lovely fruit wrapped in creamy tannins and smoky oak before a refreshing and spicy finish. A stylish, modern and typical Crozes-Hermitage that shows dedicated and skillful winemaking. 91 points

Source: Vintage & Vine/Liquid Library  Price: $55  Drink: Now-2012+

Gilles Robin Crozes-Hermitage ‘Papillon’ 2005

August 7, 2007

Although the Cave Coopérative de Tain l’Hermitage is one of France’s best, every year young and dynamic growers leave this cooperation to make and bottle wines themselves. One of them is Gilles Robin who started his own domaine in 1996. His vineyards are located in the appellation of Crozes-Hermitage where over 11 hectares of Syrah is planted on the stony and sandy ‘La Terrace de Chassis’. The soil of this plain is rich in round ‘galets‘ on brown clay-limestone, producing showy wines that are round and fruit-driven. The ruby coloured Cuvée Papillon is an excellent example of this style with a nose of ripe plums and prunes, mulberry, violets and olives. The palate is round and pliant with lots of ripe fruit upfront that slowly stretches to a spicy finish. The springy character of the youthful fruit is further enhanced by a short – about 6 months – élévage on oak. This is really different and interesting drinking. 90 points.

Source: Vintage & Vine/Liquid Library  Price: $45  Drink: Now-2009

Guigal Crozes-Hermitage 2004

May 15, 2007

img_2927.jpgimg_2927.jpgMarcel Guigal is one of the superstars in the world of wine with his famous single-vineyard and estate Côte-Rôties. Apart from those exquisite but expensive wines Guigel offers his négociants line. It consists of a wide range of wines from various Northern and Southern Rhône appellations at a more affordable price. After the highly concentrated brooding reds from 2003 I was looking forward to try the wines from the more classic 2004 vintage. The cooler conditions show through in this Crozes-Hermitage. The wine is well structured and balanced but hasn’t got the same concentration as the 03’s. This makes it actually a more subtle and easier drinking wine with a nearly silky texture on the front- and mid-palate and fine drying tannins at the finish. It is a good introduction in what this variety can do outside Australia. 88 points.

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $42  Drink: Now-2011


M. Chapoutier ‘Les Meysonniers’ Crozes-Hermitage 2003

May 1, 2007

img_2708.jpgIt is fascinating to see how wine-regions and their wines constantly change over time.  Innovations, market circumstances, successions, they all contribute to this dynamism. In the Northern Rhône a revolutionary transformation took place from the early eighties when Robert Parker Jr. started to bring its wines – especially Guigal’s top cuvées – under broader attention and in accordance with the methods of the influential grower, winemaker and consultant Jean Luc Colombo many wineries started to modernise. Organic viticulture, total destemming, the use of new oak and long maceration gradually became common practice and the Northern Rhône’s philosophy shifted from quantity to quality. Nowadays the ultimate goal for most is to produce wines that clearly express their terroir, a notion that is deeply embedded in a region that is dotted with countless lieux-dits. At Chapoutier major changes took place in 1977 when Max Chapoutier retired and handed over the family business to his sons Marc and Michel. The vineyards are entirely biodynamic and yields are kept low. The wines are made from free-run juice only that is fermented with indigenous yeasts. Separate vinification according to vineyard allows the terroir to speak and the best wines are not fined or filtered at all. The ripe characters of the 2003 ‘Les Meysonniers’ definitely reflect the hot vintage but the wine is far from clumsy. It offers fragrant plum, raspberry and spicy aromas, all backed by subtle, smoky oak. It’s an elegant, medium-bodied wine with ripe fruit upfront and plenty of mineral acidity on the mid and the back of the palate. The finish is not particularly long but offers a lot of character with white pepper, soft vanillin oak and gritty tannins. A great style of Syrah for a very reasonable price.

Source: Millesima Distributions/Fine Wines Wholesalers Price: $43 Drink: Now-2012