M. Chapoutier, Ermitage Rouge L'Ermite Sélections Parcellaires

M. Chapoutier, Ermitage Rouge L'Ermite Sélections Parcellaires, 1999

  • icon-type Type

    Red

  • icon-year Year

    1999

  • icon-style Style

    Dry

  • icon-country Country

    France

  • icon-alcohollevel Alcohol level

    13.5%

  • icon-grapevariety Grape variety
    Syrah 100%
  • Rating

    RP 96

Appearance: very deep garnet red, almost black.

Nose: black fruits with spices and ink overtones.

Palate: tannins are in the same time powerful and velvety. Smoky and pepper overtones express wonderfully the Syrah variety on granitic soil. According to the vintage, the wine can be kept from 30 to 60 years, indeed from 50 to 75 years in the best ones.

About M. Chapoutier

Maison M. Chapoutier is one of the most recognizable producers in the Rhône Valley. It is known for its wines from both the north and south of the valley, but in particular for its red and white Hermitage wines, made from Syrah and a blend of Marsanne and Roussanne, respectively.

The family's history in the Rhône dates back to 1808, but it wasn't until 1879 that Polydor Chapoutier transitioned the family from growing grapes to making and trading wine. In 1988, Michel Chapoutier took the company reins, and a push toward quality saw the Chapoutier label begin to gain international recognition. Michel Chapoutier eschewed the use of traditional chestnut foudres for aging, instead moving toward smaller oak casks with shorter aging periods. He also advocated to keep the wines unfiltered and unfined, and to produce only biodynamically or organically grown fruit across all of the vineyards. From 1996, all M. Chapoutier labels have included braille in honour of Maurice Monier de la Sizeranne, who created a form of modern abbreviated braille, and was the original owner of the Chapoutier vineyard in Hermitage.

Outside of the flagship vineyards in Hermitage, Chapoutier has vineyards across the Rhône, including plots in Côte Rôtie, Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Condrieu. These span both single-vineyard expressions and generic AOC-level wines. Chapoutier also makes regional Côtes du Rhône wines, and has viticultural interests in Australia (Domaine Tournon), Portugal and Alsace.

Grape variety
Syrah

Syrah, also known as Shiraz, is a dark-skinned grape variety grown throughout the world and used primarily to produce red wine. In 1999, Syrah was found to be the offspring of two obscure grapes from south-eastern France, Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche. Syrah should not be confused with Petite Sirah, a cross of Syrah with Peloursin dating from 1880.

The style and flavour profile of wines made from Syrah are influenced by the climate where the grapes are grown with moderate climates (such as the northern Rhone Valley and parts of the Walla Walla AVA in Washington State) tending to produce medium to full-bodied wines with medium-plus to high levels of tannins and notes of blackberry, mint and black pepper. In hot climates (such as Crete, and the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale regions of Australia), Syrah is more consistently full-bodied with softer tannin, jammier fruit and spice notes of liquorice, anise and earthy leather. In many regions the acidity and tannin levels of Syrah allow the wines produced to have favourable aging potential.

Syrah is used as a single varietal or as a blend. Following several years of strong planting, Syrah was estimated in 2004 to be the world's 7th most grown grape at 142,600 hectares (352,000 acres). It can be found throughout the globe from France to New World wine regions such as: Chile, South Africa, the Hawke's Bay, Waiheke, New Zealand, California and Washington. It can also be found in several Australian wine regions such as: Barossa, Heathcote, Coonawarra, Hunter Valley, Margaret River and McLaren Vale

Wines made from Syrah are often powerfully flavoured and full-bodied. The variety produces wines with a wide range of flavour notes, depending on the climate and soils where it is grown, as well as other viticultural practices chosen. Aroma characters can range from violets to berries (usually dark as opposed to red), chocolate, and black pepper. No one aroma can be called "typical" though blackberry, coffee and pepper are often noticed. With time in the bottle these "primary" notes are moderated and then supplemented with earthy or savoury "tertiary" notes such as leather and truffle. "Secondary" flavour and aroma notes are those associated with several things, generally winemakers' practices (such as oak barrel and yeast treatment).

The Syrah-dominated appellations (AOCs) of northern Rhône have, like most other French appellations and regions, no tradition of varietal labelling of their wines. Indeed, such practices are generally disallowed under AOC rules, and only the AOC name (such as Cote-Rotie, Crozes-Hermitage or Hermitage) appears on the label. Varietal labelling of Syrah/Shiraz wines is therefore a practice that has emerged in the New World, primarily in Australia.

To confuse matters, in northern Rhône, different clones of genuine Syrah are referred to as Petite Syrah (small Syrah) or Gros Syrah (large Syrah) depending on the size of their berries, with Petite Syrah being considered the superior version, giving wines higher in phenolics.

As a general rule, most Australian and South African wines are labelled "Shiraz", and most European wines (from such regions where varietal labelling is practiced) are labelled "Syrah". In other countries, practices vary and winemakers (or wine marketers) sometimes choose either "Syrah" or "Shiraz" to signify a stylistic difference in the wine they have made. "Syrah"-labelled wines are sometimes thought to be more similar to classic Northern Rhône reds; presumably more elegant, tannic, smoke-flavoured and restrained with respect to their fruit component. "Shiraz"-labelled wines, on the other hand, would then be more similar to archetypical Australian or other New World examples, presumably made from riper berries, more fruit-driven, higher in alcohol, less obviously tannic, peppery rather than smoky, usually more easily approached when young, and possibly slightly sweetish in impression. It must, however, be realised that this rule of thumb is unevenly applied.

Alternative Names: Shiraz, Hermitage

About Hermitage

Hermitage is a small appellation with 140 hectares (345 acres) of vineyards, responsible for France's most enduringly prestigious wines. These are on a par with those from the Côte Rôtie (30 miles/45km to the north), and Châteauneuf-du-Pape (70 miles/110km to the south). Both red and white Hermitage wines are long-lived and full-bodied.

The red wines, which may be aged for 30 years or more, are often produced exclusively from Syrah, tough regulations permit up to 15 percent of the white grape varieties Marsanne and Roussanne. They are known for their robustness and rich aromas of leather, coffee and red berries.

The whites are less famous than the reds, but do account for about one third of AOC Hermitage's annual production. They can usually be cellared for about 15 years, have aromas of honeysuckle, tropical fruit and earthy minerals. They are made predominantly from Marsanne, with limited use of Roussanne.

Hermitage also produces "vins de paille" (straw wines) – sweet white wines made from Marsanne and Roussanne grapes that have been dried out in the sun on straw mats. These wines are expensive because of the labour-intensive processes required to create them, but they are also rich, full flavoured and very long-lived. Produced only in warmer years, Hermitage vins de paille are strictly forbidden to undergo chaptalization at any time.

The whole of the granite hillside where the Hermitage vineyards are planted faces south, overlooking a short section where the river Rhône flows west to east, not north to south. This orientation means that the grapes benefit from the maximum amount of sunlight throughout the day. The town of Tain l'Hermitage sits between the vineyard slopes and the water.

The Hermitage zone is bordered to the north by the vineyards of AOC Crozes-Hermitage. These vines are sited in flatter areas, with varying exposures, and the north-facing side of the hill of Hermitage.

The topsoil on the slopes is relatively thin compared to that of the valley floor. There are a wide variety of soil types – ranging from sandy gravel in the west, to rockier areas higher up and limestone in the centre. As intense Rhône sunshine warms the hillside during the day, the granite bedrock stores this heat, encouraging the grapes to ripen more fully than those in less-exposed sites. The effect of the local terroir is most pronounced on the western side of the hill; it is steeper than the east and enjoys prolonged exposure to afternoon sunshine.

The appellation is divided into a number of vineyards. Les Bessards is at the western end, while Bessards, Le Méal, Les Greffieux and Murets lie to the east. L'Hermite and La Chapelle take up the top of the slope. The latter is named after a chapel built in honour of Saint Christopher which is owned by the négociant firm Paul Jaboulet Aîné, whose top cuvée is La Chapelle. The appellation takes its name from the legend of the crusading knight Gaspard de Stérimberg, who returned home, wounded, from the Albigensian Crusade in 1224. He was allowed by the Queen of France to build a small refuge on the hillside, where he lived as a hermit.

Jaboulet is one of four producers who rather dominate the appellation in terms of vineyard ownership. Two are also négociant firms; Delas Frères (now owned by Louis Roederer) and M. Chapoutier. The other is Domaine Jean-Louis Chave.

Regular price $2,532.00

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