The utterly perfect 2010 Hermitage Ex Voto Blanc is as good as it gets in Hermitage Blanc. Offering a crazy array of liquid rock-like minerality, graphite, flint, white currants, white peach and quince, it's layered, full-bodied, impeccably balanced and pure. It's a straight up tour de force that’s going to have decades of longevity. As always, the blend is 90% Marsanne and 10% Roussanne, aged 30 months in new French oak. Hat's off to the Guigal family for this incredible wine. (JD)
Macadamia nut and green almond aromas lead the way, quickly followed by warm brioche, salted butter, hazelnut, creamed Jonagold apple and Cavaillon melon flavors. Showy but never opulent, as bitter citrus and quinine threads harness the long finish with a deft touch. Stunning. Best from 2015 through 2030. (JM)
From 50- to 90-year-old vines in lieux-dits Les Murets (90%) and L'Ermite (10%), this wine spent 30 months in new oak barriques. Built to impress rather than refresh, this is strongly oak-influenced, with notes of bright toasted peanut, cracked wood and cedar. There's a crème caramel element to aroma (burnt sugar) and flavour (crème pâtissière), and in the mouth it's intensely rich and powerful. It's also very full-bodied - leaning towards over-full - and shot through with oak spice, although some internal salinity and tension helps bring balance. More mature than you might expect at eight years. (MW)
(90% marsanne and 10% roussanne, aged in 100% new oak for 30 months): Vivid yellow-gold. Intense, incisive pear and nectarine aromas are brightened by chalky minerals and deepened by suggestions of beeswax, vanilla and iodine. Penetrating orchard fruit and honeydew flavors stain the palate, picking up bitter lemon zest and floral qualities with air. Turns firmer and spicier with air, finishing with outstanding lift, thrust and smoky persistence. (JR)
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