Domaine les Alexandrins Crozes-Hermitage - 2020
A partnership between three winegrowers in the Rhône Valley – Nicolas Jaboulet, Guillaume Sorrel and Alexandre Caso – Domaine les Alexandrins crafts wines in the purest tradition of the Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph appellations. They are made from exceptional terroirs, ensuring the very finest expression of the appellation. Our Crozes-Hermitage come from a superb, four-hectare vineyard planted with old vines located in the heart of the appellation, around the villages of Chanos Curson (Chassis), Pont d’Isère (Les Flouris) and Roche de Glun (Saviauds).
Sandy-clay soil covered in pebbles. The vines are tended in a traditional way, using methods that respect the terroir, thereby encouraging biodiversity and drawing out the very best from the grapes. This is why some of our centenary vine stocks are able to withstand the tests of time and continue to give their best.
After the hail damage of 2019, we had to nurse our vineyards back to health with a range of gentle but complementary nutrients. This made 2020 a technically exacting year, especially since the weather reserved many surprises for us. Spring was extraordinarily hot and dry and, despite a short break in June when some welcome rain fell, summer saw a continuation of drought conditions right up until the harvest. With a high risk of mildew at the start of the season, constant and unpredictable winds, powdery mildew half way through the season and the threat of high temperatures and scorching, we were spared nothing, and it required a major effort to cope. Fortunately, the occasional shower, fairly cool nights and morning dew meant the vines did not suffer too much from the summer heat, and all our hard work seems to have paid off with the promise of a fine vintage. To avoid the hottest moments of the day, we began picking from 6 am so as to pick the grapes while they were cool. We began with the whites on August 19 and continued with the reds through until September 16. First tastings revealed aromatic wines of great freshness, with degrees rarely exceeding 13.5°. After so many twists and turns, it is a vintage that reverts to origin in a very “Northern Rhône” style, after the mediterranean vintages of 2018 and 2019.
An Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée in the northern Rhône Valley since 1937, the Crozes-Hermitage vineyard lies on the left bank of the Rhône, between the Hermitage and Saint-Joseph appellations. The earliest vines in this terroir were first grown in Roman times. Its name comes from two place names: “Crozes”, from the Latin crucem, which means “cross” or “crossroads”, and “Hermitage”, from the Latin heremitagium, meaning “hermitage” in English. It refers to the hill rising above the Rhône, on the summit of which the knight Henri Gaspard de Stérimberg settled to live as a hermit on his return from the Albigensian Crusade.
- Harvested by hand.
- Traditional vinification.
- 70% destemmed.
- 3-day cold maceration.
- Punching down and pumping over in alternation to break down and push in the pomace cap and draw out the aromas and tannins.
- Barrel fermentation for 20 days.
- Aged for 12 months in 2-year-old barrels.
A very attractive, glimmering deep black color. The powerful and complex nose reveals lovely concentrated black fruit and subtle smoky notes that are a mark of the wine’s barrel ageing. The palate opens in an explosion of fruit and freshness, before revealing all its rich complexity and the subtlety of its imposing tannins. A superb expression of Syrah with outstanding cellaring potential.
Grilled red meat, spicy dishes or stews with lots of flavour.
Serve between 15°C and 18°C. Right now: packed with black fruit notes. Cellaring time: ideally, drink within 5 years.
Profil sérieux, rappelant le fruit noir concentré de Cornas. La bouche est musclée sans excès. La rondeur de l'alcool lui apporte un certain charme.
La Revue du Vin de France , 15-16/20 , 2019-05-29
I loved the 2018 Crozes-Hermitage from barrel last year and it showed beautifully from bottle. Its dense purple color is followed by rocking notes of black raspberry fruits, tapenade, ground pepper, and smoked earth. This rich, medium to full-bodied, concentrated Crozes-Hermitage has a wonderful texture, ripe tannins, and a great finish. Well worth seeking out, this terrific 2018 will evolve for 10-15 years.
Jeb Dunnuck , 94/100 , 2020-11-19
Semi-stemmy on the nose, giving subtle herby notes, plus dark black fruit which gives full body. Attractive soy character on the finish.
Jancis Robinson , 16/20 , 2019-10-01