Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Crozes-Hermitage and 2006 Domaine Bernard Ange Crozes-Hermitage Rhone Valley France

Crozes-Hermitage Rhone Valley France

Crozes-Hermitage is the largest appellation in the Northern Rhone. Less admired and pricey than its neighbor name-sake Hermitage, the earthy Saint-Joseph and the powerful Cote-Rotie, Crozes Hermitage produces great juicy, earthy Syrah based wines. Compared to other northern Rhone appellation, Crozes-Hermitage tends to be a bit lighter and more approachable at younger age, probably due to the addition of white grapes in the blend. Marsanne and Roussanne are sometime blended in small amount (up to 15% allowed) with Syrah to add freshness, acidity and provide a little kick to the reds. The richness of the soils also procures complexity, balance and depth without heaviness. The vineyards planted on the slopes often have more freshness and minerality, and seems more complex.

Domaine Bernard Ange

After co-founding and co-owning a previous Domaine in the 80's (Domaine des Entrefaux), Bernard Ange left in 1997 to produce wine under his own name and label. His Domaine is a family run operation dedicated to producing classic, Terroir driven wines crafted from very low yields, 40-50 year old vines. The grapes from the younger vines are apparently sold separately to other producers. Bernard Ange's artisanal winemaking and somewhat organic or sustainable approach enhance even more the quality and the consistency of his wines. The argilo-calcareous soils and the vineyards planted on slopes with good drainage provide harmony and liveliness.

2006 Domaine Bernard Ange Crozes-Hermitage Rhone Valley France
Suggested retail price $19-$22
Distributed by Savio Soares in NYC

The 2006 Domaine Bernard Ange Crozes-Hermitage is a great example of what this fairly unappreciated for some and unknown for others appellation can offer. The color is bright, light, red ruby hue and pinkish rime with medium to light intensity. The nose is also bright and airy, with vivid red cherry, raspberry and wild berry aromas intermingled with meaty, earthy, spicy and mineral notes. Medium in intensity and structure, the palate is really fresh, juicy and inviting, boasting rich and complex flavors of wild red berry with earthy hints of spice and stony minerality. Thanks to the vivid acidity, the balanced finish lingers harmoniously. Despite the usual fans of authentic, artisanal and traditional Northern Rhone Syrah wines, young Burgundy red wines lovers should also enjoy this Syrah based wine that has a somewhat Burgundian-like attitude. Pair it with game, poultry and even river fish.


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