White, Ready, but will improve

2012 Hermitage Blanc, Domaine du Colombier

2012 Hermitage Blanc, Domaine du Colombier

White | Ready, but will improve | Domaine du Colombier | Code: 23712 | 2012 | France > Rhône > Hermitage | Northern Rhône blend | Medium-Full Bodied, Dry | 13.5 % alcohol

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Bottle

£42.00

Case price (6)
£252.00

Bottle 6 x 75cl1cs

£197.46
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Scores and Reviews

WA

89/100

WA - The 2012 Crozes Hermitage Blanc is a blend of all Marsanne that’s aged 60% in tank and 40% in 20% new demi-muids. Made in a ripe, rich style, with ripe apple, buttered peaches, spice and honeysuckle, this medium-bodied, character filled and textured effort should be consumed over the coming couple of years.

This was a rock star lineup by owner/winemaker Florent Viale. Covering roughly 13 hectares in Crozes Hermitage (mostly around the villages of Mercurol and Tain) and just under two hectares in Hermitage, the wines from this domaine see a traditional vinification followed by aging mostly in older demi-muids, with new oak kept to around 20% for most of the cuvees. The wines are classic, textbook examples of their appellations and should not be missed. The fact that they can represent good value is just icing on the cake.

Drink 2013-2016

Jeb Dunnuck - Wine Advocate #210, Dec 2013

The Producer

Domaine du Colombier

Domaine du Colombier

Domaine du Colombier is widely recognised as one of the best sources of high quality Hermitage and Crozes Hermitage wine.

The Viale family planted their first vines at the foot of the Hermitage hill in 1929; now the representative of the third generation, the tall and charming Florent, owns over 13 hectares of vines liberally scattered on some of the best sites over the communes of Mercurol and Tain, including 1.5 hectares of vineyards in the renowned Beaumes vineyard on the famous Hermitage hill. Before 1992 the entire production was sold to local negociants (Guigal in particular) and so only recently have the Viales been estate bottling and marketing their own wines.

The average age vines in the holding in Beaumes is over 50 years and this is reflected in the wine which is renowned for their purity and harmony. The Syrah is fermented in a cement, stainless steel and wood, and then matured over eight months in cement and 600 ltr demi-muids.

Florent is keen on emphasising the primacy of ripe fruit above all else, but his wines are not without structure and ageing potential. Colombier’s Crozes Hermitage is now consistently one of the finest in the Appellation with the wines from 2001 (excepting the tricky 2002 and 2003) getting better and better, in particular this, the charming and relatively approachable 2006.

The Grape

Northern Rhône blend

Northern Rhône blend

The Region

Hermitage

Hermitage

Hermitage is the most famous of all the northern Rhône appellations. The hill of Hermitage is situated above the town of Tain and overlooks the town of Tournon, just across the river.  Hermitage has 120 hectares and produces tiny quantities of very long-lived reds.

The vines were grown in Roman times, although local folklore claims their origins to be nearly 600 years earlier. The name ‘Hermitage’ first appeared in the 16th century, derived from a legend of the 13th century Crusade, involving a wounded knight called Gaspard de Stérimberg, who made refuge on the hill, planted vines and became a hermit.

During the 17th century Hermitage was recognised as one of the finest in Europe. In 1775, Ch. Lafite was blended with Hermitage and was one of the greatest wines of its day. In the late 19th century, however, Phylloxera wiped out all the vineyards.

The wines are powerful, with a deep colour and firm tannins, developing into some of the finest examples in France, with the potential to age for many decades. The best Hermitage is produced from several climats or more, blended together. The main climats are Les Bessards, Le Meal, L’Hermite, Les Greffieux and Les Diognieres.  Most of the finest climats face broadly south, giving maximum sunshine. Most growers only have one or two climats and they might not complement each other; Hermitage quality can therefore vary hugely. Only the top producers have extensive diversified holdings.

Eighty percent of the wine produced is red, however up to 15 percent of white grapes can be used in the blend. Most growers use 100 percent Syrah and utilise the white grapes to make white wines only. Chapoutier, Jaboulet and Tain l’Hermitage Co-operative are the principle proprietors of the appellation’s vineyards.

The white wines are made from the Marsanne and Roussanne grapes. Great white Hermitage has the ability to age, taking on the fruit characters of apricots and peaches, often giving a very nutty finish. The best examples in great vintages can last 50 years.

Mature red Hermitage can be confused with old Bordeaux. In a blind tasting of 1961 First Growth Clarets, the famous 1961 Hermitage La Chapelle was included. Most people, including its owner, Gerard Jaboulet, mistook it for Ch. Margaux.

Recommended producers: ChaveJabouletChapoutierFerratonColombier
Best vintages: 2006, 2005, 2004, 2001, 1999, 1997, 1991, 1990, 1985

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