2012 Hermitage Blanc, Les Rocoules, Domaine Marc Sorrel

2012 Hermitage Blanc, Les Rocoules, Domaine Marc Sorrel

Product: 20121116607
2012 Hermitage Blanc, Les Rocoules, Domaine Marc Sorrel

Description

Our 2012 Rhône Vintage Recommendation: Favourite Northern Rhône White
Very attractive bouquet, which is both ripe and concentrated. This has lovely depth and power on the palate, with notes of baked apple, honey and minerals. It's rich and long, yet with beautiful finesse.
Chris Pollington, Private Account Manager

Low yields have reduced yet further the fruits of a modest crop and, evidently, have had an incremental effect on the quality. Deep Marsanne colour presages aromatics of grapefruit and quince, the multi-layered palate dominated by beeswax and hazelnut. 
Simon Field MW, Rhône Wine Buyer

Marc Sorrel’s legendary reticence was somewhat compromised during my November visit by diluvium weather, a good deal of which was penetrating his Cave in the centre of Tain l’Hermitage.  Once sang froid had been restored, he was far from immodest in his praise for 2012, a small but excellent year, not unlike 2010 in his opinion, and far less astringent than 2009. Also in his opinion.

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About this WINE

Domaine Marc Sorrel

Domaine Marc Sorrel

Not a single new oak barrel can be found in Sorrel's wine cellars, which are on the main street of Tain l'Hermitage in Northern Rhone. His one concession to modernism is his air-conditioned cellar. Production is small, with 1,000 cases of white and red Hermitage wines, and the rest Crozes-Hermitage.

Marc Sorrel took over the lion's share of the family wine business from his father in 1982. Somewhat thrown in at the deep end, his first efforts were less than spectacular. He bounced back, however, with his next vintage and has been on the up ever since and is now one of the finest producers of traditionally styled Hermitage.

His winemaking technique is distinctly non-interventionist - he rarely de-stems, he doesn't use new oak and his wines are often aged for up to two years before bottling. This traditional approach gives an old-fashioned style of Hermitage which is full, well-structured and very long-lived.

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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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Marsanne

Marsanne

Marsanne is the predominant white grape variety grown in the Northern Rhône where it is used to produce white St. Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, and Hermitage. It is a tricky grape to cultivate, being susceptible to diseases and being particularly sensitive to extreme climatic changes - if growing conditions are too cool, then it fails to ripen fully and produces thin, insipid wines, while, if too hot, the resultant wines are blowsy, overblown and out of balance.

In the Northern Rhône it tends to be blended with around 15% Rousanne and produces richly aromatic, nutty wines which age marvellously - the best examples are from Hermitage and particularly from Chapoutier. Increasingly it is being grown in the Southern Rhône and Languedoc Roussillon where it is bottled as a single varietal or blended with Roussanne, Viognier, and sometimes Chardonnay. It is also grown very successfully in Victoria in Australia where some of the world`s oldest Marsanne vines are to be found.

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Reviews

Customer reviews

The Wine Advocate95/100

Critic reviews

The Wine Advocate95/100
There's roughly 900 bottles of the blockbuster 2012 Hermitage Blanc les Rocoules. One of the more flamboyant whites from this region, this decadent, full-bodied, fat and heady effort gives up tons of caramelized fruits, citrus oil, quince and assorted tropical-like aromas and flavors. It's another pedal to-the-metal styled white to drink over the coming decade.
Jeb Dunnuck - 30/12/2014 Read more