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 wine is sourced from 40-year-old vines in the “Les Dionnières” lieu-dit (about 1ha). It is made entirely from estate-grown grapes, like all the wines produced by the estate. Softness and roundness will evolve with age.
Vinification: Philippe and Vincent practice a sustainable farming, respecting the nature as much as possible. They received the HEV certification (sustainable certification) which guarantees high level of environmental performance. This certification was created as a contribution to the implementation of the agro-ecological project launched by the French Minister in December 2012. To improve complexity, they lower the yields to 35-40hl/ha, by practicing green harvest and planting vines closer to each other forcing the vines to compete against each other which naturally regulate the yields. The grapes are hand-harvested, destemmed and chilled for 24 to 48 hours in order to preserve the aromas of the fruit and spread out the work in the winery. The fermentation occurs in wooden vats to allow complex and smooth tannins through micro-oxygenation. Maceration lasts three to four weeks, which is long. Both Pump-overs and punch-downs are performed twice a day. The goal is to extract color, aromas and tannins to express the terroir. It also requires longer ageing. This wine was aged for 24 months in 228-liter oak barrel (50% new oak).
Notes of tobacco, leather, pepper and spices. A lot of tannins in the mouth. The power is balanced with finesse and elegance. This is a wine to keep for decades as softness and roundness evolve.
Score: 92 PointsThe Wine Advocate Author: Joe Czerwinski
Sourced from the Les Dionnires lieu-dit, the 2012 Ermitage is full-bodied and velvety textured, generous in its berry fruit, leather and spice but with some tough tannins on the finish. It should drink well for 15 years or so.
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