Terroir: Over centuries, this mythical cru has built its reputation on a single hill, and an epic history. Sheltered from northerly winds, most of the hillsides are south-facing and receive good exposure to the sun while enjoying a Mediterranean climate.
The harmony between the soils and the sun exposure allows the syrah varietal to express its strength perfectly. This balance is also reflected in the tannins that oscillate between strength and finesse. The wines from the Hermitage hill can be spelled with or without the “H”. Philippe and Vincent made the choice to not use the “H” because “Ermitage” is the original spelling of the appellation. The Hermitage hill is home to numerous parcels, planted on steep slopes and often on terraces. This Ermitage white is particular because it is made 100% from the Roussanne grape. There is no Marsanne. Roussanne is named after its ripe skin color, a reddish-gold pigment that equates to the French word Roux (red-brown). The variety is thought to have originated in the northern Rhone Valley, where the majority of modern day plantings are found because it benefits from the warm temperatures and long sunlight hours it needs to achieve full maturity.
It is made entirely from estate-grown grapes, like all the wines produced by the estate. The average age of the vines is 40 years. They benefit from South exposure and are planted on soil made of loess, in two lieu-dits, “Maison Blanche” and “Les Beaumes”.
This wine gives a brilliant golden yellow color with aromas of flowers, vanilla and grilled almonds. In the mouth, the Roussanne brings elegance along with the richness of the mature grape. It’s a rich wine with a long finish.
Score: 90 PointsThe Wine Advocate Author: Joe Czerwinski
Not quite as rich or honeyed as the 2013, the 2012 Ermitage Blanc features scents of toasted almond and citrus. This medium to full-bodied wine hints at marmalade on the palate with a slightly bitter, orange pith edge to the finish.
Score: 91 PointsWine Spectator Author: James Molesworth
Quite ripe, with a slightly languid feel to the creamed melon, peach and warmed pear notes, gilded liberally with toasted brioche and macadamia nut hints. Lush finish. Enticing, if a touch short on cut. For fans of the style. Drink now through 2019.
Score: 92 PointsVinous Author: Josh Raynolds
Brilliant yellow-gold. Powerful scents of nectarine, pear nectar and Meyer lemon pick up vanilla, honey and smoky mineral nuances with air. Broad and fleshy on the palate, offering powerful, mineral-laced orchard and pit fruit flavors and refreshingly bitter suggestions of quinine and citrus pith. Minerally and nervy on the penetrating, extremely persistent finish, which leaves behind suave vanilla and pear liqueur notes. This a rare example of a white Hermitage being made exclusively with Roussanne.
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