Thursday, August 06, 2009

Tasting Syrah in Crozes-Hermitage

This year, a family reunion took us to the northern Rhône Valley, not far from the village of Mercurol considered to be one of the best locations for the Crozes-Hermitage appellation. Between long family meals and other activities, we took the time to visit two wineries there.

The village of Mercurol

The first one was the Domaine des Entrefaux, a family-owned estate farming 21 hectares of Syrah and 4 hectares of Marsanne and Roussanne on the hills around Mercurol. Grapes are hand-harvested and fully destemmed before being aged in vats or oak barrels.

Domaine des Entrefaux

The wines we tasted:

• 2007 Crozes-Hermitage Blanc Domaine des Entrefaux Les Pends: blend of 70% Marsanne, 30% Roussanne from Les Pends, a slopy vineyard in Mercurol. Aromatic nose of stone fruit, oily mouthfeel on the palate, richly balanced.

• 2007 Crozes-Hermitage Domaine des Entrefaux Les Champs Fourné: a blend of estate young vines and from a vineyard called Champs Fourné. Aged in stainless steel vats. Fig and dried fruits aromas on the nose, medium-bodied, bright acidity on the palate.

• 2007 Crozes-Hermitage Domaine des Entrefaux : older vines from the estate. Soil made of rocks, pebble stones and clay. Partly aged in oak barrels. Sweet prunes aromas on the nose. More tannins, spices and licorice on the finish.

• 2006 Crozes-Hermitage Domaine des Entrefaux Les Machonnières: 25 to 50 year old vines from a hilly vineyard in Mercurol. Aged in oak barrels, 5% new. Blackberry jam, plums and prunes on the nose. Toasty, yeasty, tannic on the palate, needs aging.

Wine from the Domaine des Entrefaux

The Domaine des Remizières is not far away on the main road leading to Tain-l'Hermitage. The winery is family-owned since three generations and had originally approximately 4 hectares of vines. Part of the production used to be made at the local cooperative, but since 1973, all the wine is produced at the domain, which has now 30 hectares under vines.

The wines we tasted:

• 2008 Crozes-Hermitage Blanc Domaine des Remizières Cuvée Christophe: blend of 85% Marsanne, 15% Roussanne growing on clayey-limestone hill-side, south-facing soils. Aged in oak barrels. Nose needed to open up. Dry and fat on the palate, complex finish.

• 2007 Crozes-Hermitage Domaine des Remizières Cuvée Particulière: clayey-limestone hill-side soils. Aged in oak barrels, a few new. Pepper and red berry on the nose, full bodied on the palate, good acidity .

• 2007 Crozes-Hermitage Domaine des Remizières Cuvée Christophe: 65 year old vines on average. Aged in oak barrel, 70% new. Spicy, more tannic, needs time.

• 2007 Saint-Joseph Domaine des Remizières: granitic hill-side, south-facing soils. Floral, spicy nose. Round and silky on the palate, tannic finish.

Wine from the Domaine des Remizières

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Wine of Month Club said...

I love to see the old castle or town ruins are the vines. Makes for great photos. Napa/Sonoma is pretty but we miss out on some of the charm of small towns. Thanks for the post and pics

Catherine Granger said...

Have you been to Carmel Valley? That's a nice little village (no old castle though) with a few wineries to visit.