More Hermitage than Crozes-Hermitage, the 2015 Crozes Ermitage Les Varonniers comes from a cool, west facing parcel and the same soils as the Bessards lieu-dit on Hermitage. Burning embers, ozone, saddle leather, beef blood and a liqueur of rocks bouquet gives way to a full-bodied, silky, awesome Crozes-Hermitage that's undoubtedly the greatest vintage ever for this cuvée. Give it 4-5 years of cellaring and it will keep for another two decades. Bravo! Enough can’t be said about the quality coming from the estate of Michel Chapoutier. Taking over the domaine from his father in the late 1980s (his first vintage was 1989), Michel quickly moved the estate completely to bio-dynamic farming as well as building a new, state of the art winery located just outside of Tain l’Hermitage. These are classic, traditionally made wines that are never acidified (or chaptalized), are brought up mostly in demi-muids (with plenty of used oak), and bottled unfined and unfiltered. He also continues to grow the brand (this is easily one of the largest tastings I do every year from a single producer) and has added two new Côte Rôties in 2015, the Quatrain and Neve cuvees. The Quatrain is reserved for grapes that didn’t make it into the selection parcellaire releases, and the Neve comes from a single parcel in the northern part of the appellation. Both are impressive wines, although I don’t envy anyone trying to explain the full portfolio to buyers in the market. In addition, while it’s easy to foc
Intense, with dark currant, fig and blackberry confiture flavors forming the core. Youthfully tight, featuring notes of ganache, warm tobacco and dark earth draped over the finish. Shows rivets of acidity throughout, with a beautiful hint of bay leaf at the very end. Should age wonderfully. Best from 2020 through 2030.
The 2015 Crozes Hermitage les Varonniers is full-bodied and rich, but it's already almost enjoyable to drink, thanks to its bold layers of cassis, mulberries and spice. It's close to being jammy but is held back by a delicious savory edge of black olive on the velvety finish. (JC)
Opaque ruby. Powerful, mineral-accented blackberry, licorice, pungent flowers and olive paste on the deeply perfumed nose. Velvety, broad and impressively concentrated, offering black and blue fruit liqueur, cola and candied violet flavors that tighten up steadily with air. Smooth, harmonious tannins make a late appearance, providing shape to a strikingly long, smoke-tinged finish. (JR)
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