The Grand Courtil demonstrates brilliantly how Crozes-Hermitage and a proportion of new oak (30 % in this case) can work together. We do not always buy this particular wine but when it works, as here, it works exceptionally well. Black olives and tapenade share the honours with ripe, expressive fruit.
Simon Field MW, BBR Buyer
Ferraton is owned by Chapoutier, but run as an autonomous entity. For a long time it seemed to underperform, almost as if shocked in the headlights of the energetic charisma of its benefactor. The potential of the vineyards, some of which are located on the very best sites on the Hill of Hermitage, has never been disputed. Now, with Bordelais winemaker Damien Brisset firmly in control, one begins to see, at last, the realisation of potential. I am pleased to have ‘stuck with’ them over the years, as the maturing vintages seldom fail to please and the quality of the current vintage gets better and better.
The three most spectacular wines in Ferraton’s 2011 portfolio include the 2011 Crozes-Ermitage Le Grand Courtil, which displays plenty of chocolaty espresso notes intermixed with creme de cassis, blackberries, charcoal and a hint of truffles. The complex aromatics are followed by a full-bodied, supple textured, front end-loaded, plump, fleshy red that is hard to resist. This 2011 should drink beautifully when released in 2013, and age nicely for a decade.
The quality of Ferraton’s wines has been increasing with nearly every new vintage thanks to the efforts of Michel Chapoutier and his number one assistant, P.H. Morel, who has the responsibilities for these wines. I have included a few Southern Rhones that were not reviewed in Issue #203. Some of the 2011 white wines are in bottle, but the more serious cuvees are still in barrel. Ferraton produced four lieu-dit offerings in 2011, which I tasted with Michel Chapoutier and Pierre-Henri Morel.
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #204, Dec 2012