Maison Les Alexandrins Crozes-Hermitage - 2020
The vineyard of Crozes Hermitage isn’t as old as that of Hermitage. It developed over this century towards the south to the detriment of fruit orchards.
In the north the terroir is composed of granite slopes similar to those of Hermitage. In the south the soil is mainly alluvial with a few stony terraces brought by the Rhône river. The vines are south facing, on slopes where the Mistral blows frequently. The wines produced in the North and those in the South of the appellation are very different.
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.
Crozes Hermitage is the biggest vineyard among the Northern Rhône appellations with over 1300 hectares. It is spread over 11 different communes situated in the department of La Drôme on the left bank of the Rhône river.
The grapes are cold-macerated before being fermented to increase the aromas of fruit. Maceration and fermentation for about 20 days with pumping-over for the first few days followed by punching-down. Ageing takes place in barrels for 10 months and then in stainless steel for another 6 months.
Beautiful deep-purple colour. This wine reveals a particularly seductive nose, with a subtle mix of aromas of small red fruit. On the palate, it opens up with a frank attack before revealing itself with finesse and balance and a beautiful freshness and round, velvety tannins, perfectly softened by aging in wooden vats. Very elegant, it is already very pleasant to drink.
This wine offers immediate pleasure. As soon as you open it the fruit is there. You can serve this wine at about 16-17°C with grilled food.
Syrah : 100 %
Juicy and ripe, with a still-compact feel as the core of fig and boysenberry reduction has yet to unfurl fully, but there's racy licorice root and anise notes in the background and good energy overall, so just give it the time needed. Best from 2022 through 2027.
Wine Spectator , 92/100 , 2021-02-28
Spiced-pear and baked-apple aromas lead to a palate that has a rich, fresh, melon and pear core with deep, soft and fleshy texture. Drink now.
James Suckling , 90/100 , 2019-07-20
I loved the 2018 Crozes-Hermitage. It has plenty of earthy, darker fruits as well as peppery herb notes, which is classic for the appellation. Nicely textured on the palate, with medium to full body and soft tannins, this charming, balanced Crozes-Hermitage is drinking nicely today yet will keep for at least 5-7 years, probably longer, if you're so inclined.
Jeb Dunnuck , 90/100 , 2020-11-19