Much more open, fleshy and sexy, the 2012 Hermitage Blanc was just bottled a month prior to this tasting. Coming from l’Ermite, Les Rocoules, Maison Blanche and Peleat lieux-dits, it’s always a rough blend of 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne that’s aged in barrel. Loaded with notions of honeysuckle, orange marmalade, powered rock, buttered citrus and green almond, it’s full-bodied, rich, upfront and fruit loaded. While I think it will be a relatively accessible early in its life, it has the concentration to hold for two decades. (JD)
Tasted in single-site components from tanks as the wine awaited blending: #1, from Peleat: Ripe pear and honey aromas, with a suave floral accent and a hint of smoky minerals. At once rich and lively, showing excellent back-end power. #2, from Rocoules: Intense, mineral-accented citrus and orchard fruit aromas, with a sexy floral nuance building with air. Bright, focused and mineral-driven, with a strong Meyer lemon quality lingering on the tangy finish. #3, also from Rocoules: Showing more emphasis on orchard fruit than the first Rocoules tank, with powerful quince and pear flavors and a touch of bitter quinine. Dusty minerals sharpen the long, sappy finish. #4, from l'Ermite: Spicy citrus zest and ginger scents along with a chalky mineral note and a hint of anise. Smoky and penetrating, with superb finishing clarity and lingering spiciness. #5, also from l'Ermite: More floral and masculine than the previous l'Ermite, with strong jasmine and orchard fruit character and a touch of bitter quinine. Bright and nervy on the finish, which doesn't want to let up. (AG)
Pale gold. Potent, mineral-accented honeysuckle, citrus and orchard fruit aromas show remarkable freshness and lift. Tightly wound, energetic lemon curd and green apple flavors flesh out with air to display excellent depth, with no excess fat. Finishes on a suave floral note, with an insistent mineral quality and wonderful focus and length.
(Tasted in single-component tank) The ingredient from Péléat was in tank and had lovely honey and blossom scents as well as real excitement on the palate. The Rocoule portion, also from tank, was less aromatic but had great tension and considerable substance. L'Hermite tasted from cask was splendidly dense and rich with a slightly cheesy nose but masses of tension. 'To understand Hermitage Blanc, you have to be a gastronome,' says J L Chave. (18.5+/20 points)
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