When beginning to write this review I was surprised to realize this is the first time I’ve reviewed a wine from Crozes-Hermitage. I’m a big fan of Rhone wines and have found many great value wines from the region over the years, but most of those have been from the southern Rhone while Crozes-Hermitage is a region in the northern Rhone.
Grenache, syrah and mourvedre are the primary grapes used in Rhone wines, however wines tend to be made with predominantly grenache in southern Rhone and predominantly syrah in the northern rhone. This particular one is 100% syrah.
So what is “Crozes-Hermitage”? It’s a formally designated appellation. The Rhone is a general region, but within the Rhone there are specific appellations — which regulate boundaries of the territory as well as the winemaking practices required to use the designation. In the northern Rhone some of the most acclaimed appellations are Cotie Rotie and Hermitage, but that acclaim means you often end up paying a bit more for wines from those appellations. Wines from Crozes-Hermitage are sometimes referred to as “baby Hermitage” wines, implying they are not quite as amazing as those from Hermitage, but pretty close. And that is the type of appellation a value-seeker like me is often drawn toward.
One thing I suspect intimidates some, is knowing how to correctly pronounce the names of different wine regions and producers. It can get tricky when dealing with French and German wines if you don’t speak the language. I know I’ve often flubbed the pronunciations of many wines in the past. To make this one simple, just treat the “s” and “h” as silent making the pronunciation “croze ermitage.” That may not convey all the nuance a native French-speaker would, but it’s close enough.
This wine is quite earthy on the nose, offering aromas such as black pepper, leather, smoked cedar and red berries. The palate delivers nicely balanced fruit flavors along with that earthiness with flavors like currant, blackberry and dark chocolate. The tannins add a silkiness to the mouthfeel. The acidity is good. It finishes with lingering berry and chocolate flavors. It’s a nice, balanced wine with a meatiness to the body.
Wine: Ferraton Père & Fils, La Matinière, Crozes-Hermitage
Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample.