2012 Ermitage, Le Méal, Domaine Ferraton

2012 Ermitage, Le Méal, Domaine Ferraton

Product: 20128025003
2012 Ermitage, Le Méal, Domaine Ferraton


Our 2012 Rhône Vintage Recommendation: Favourite Northern Rhône Red
Ermitage Le Méal is packed full of obvious class, maintaining a real sense of elegance and restraint despite having an awful lot going on the glass. A touch of smoke on the nose mingles with gently roasted notes of blackcurrant, dry herbs and tobacco.
Guy Davies, Wine Team

Le Méal is Ferraton’s top wine, a symphonic Syrah from the famous eponymous south-facing lieu-dit. The crop is entirely de-stemmed, macerated for four weeks and then matured for eighteen months in barrique (50% new). Intense and bright on the eye, the wine falters to deceive, such is the power and depth of flavour in the mouth. Lapidary tannins and an endless finish (if you will pardon the oxymoron) complete the tableau.
Simon Field MW, Rhône Wine Buyer

Ferreton’s renaissance continues apace; Chapoutier ownership has in no way dulled its distinctive voice and in Damien Brissett it has a world-class winemaker. With such prestigious vineyards on the hill of Hermitage (and elsewhere) Ferraton is careful to manage the distinction between its owned vines and those worked in partnership as a high-class négoçiant.  Whilst we are drawn, somewhat inevitably, towards the former, as our selection confirms, there is no denying the excellent quality of the entire range.

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About this WINE

Maison Ferraton

Maison Ferraton

Maison Ferraton is a very fine Northern Rhône wine estate that was run for many years by Michel Ferraton. It is now run by Samuel Ferraton, the fourth generation of the family, who worked for a while in conjunction with Chapoutier frères. The firm has vineyard holdings in Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage and its wine cellars are located immediately behind those of Marc Sorrel in the heart of Tain l`Hermitage.

Samuel Ferraton is very much an artisan winemaker- yet he employs many modern techniques that he picked up while working with the Chapoutiers.

Consequently, the wines are a marvellous marriage of the old and the new, displaying good structure and well-defined fruit characters, allied with very judicious and limited use of new oak. The wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.

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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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A noble black grape variety grown particularly in the Northern Rhône where it produces the great red wines of Hermitage, Cote Rôtie and Cornas, and in Australia where it produces wines of startling depth and intensity. Reasonably low yields are a crucial factor for quality as is picking at optimum ripeness. Its heartland, Hermitage and Côte Rôtie, consists of 270 hectares of steeply terraced vineyards producing wines that brim with pepper, spices, tar and black treacle when young. After 5-10 years they become smooth and velvety with pronounced fruit characteristics of damsons, raspberries, blackcurrants and loganberries.

It is now grown extensively in the Southern Rhône where it is blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre to produce the great red wines of Châteauneuf du Pape and Gigondas amongst others. Its spiritual home in Australia is the Barossa Valley, where there are plantings dating as far back as 1860. Australian Shiraz tends to be sweeter than its Northern Rhône counterpart and the best examples are redolent of new leather, dark chocolate, liquorice, and prunes and display a blackcurrant lusciousness.

South African producers such as Eben Sadie are now producing world- class Shiraz wines that represent astonishing value for money.

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Customer reviews

Wine Advocate92-95/100

Critic reviews

Wine Advocate92-95/100
In the same ballpark and from one of the warmest terroirs in the appellation, the 2012 Ermitage Le Meal is a fabulous-looking barrel sample that exhibits classic black raspberry, spring flowers, smoke, spice-box and massive minerality in its full-bodied, sweetly fruited, yet tight and focused personality. Showing fine tannin and serious length on the finish, this beauty will benefit from a handful of years in the cellar and thrill for 15 years or more.

Across the board, this is a superb lineup of wines that delivers high quality at all price points. Run by the team at Chapoutier, headed by Pierre-Henri Morel, the wines are made by Damien Brisset. This was a large tasting and I've simply listed the wines in the order we went through them. Within a vintage, the wines are broken up into three categories, the traditional releases, the Lieu-Dit releases, and the selections parcellaires releases. The 2011s are slightly softer and more streamlined than the 2012s. As a whole, they offer charming, supple and more medium-bodied profiles that will reward earlier drinking. Looking at the traditional releases in 2011, these wines show classic, yet approachable and delicious characters. In most cases they represent good value.

Drink 2015-2030

Jeb Dunnuck - Wine Advocate #210, Dec 2013 Read more
Syrah, in oak barrels for 14 to 18 months. Galets rouls. Dark purple. Massive grip on the palate but solid and meaty. Lots of ambition here.
Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobsinson.com - Jan 2014 Read more