The history of Hermitage is very old and according to a number of books it goes back to the Romans (500 years before Christ). The local legend relates the story of an 18th century knight who, returning from a crusade, built a chapel at the top of a hill and lived there like a hermit, hence the name Ermitage. Returning from a trip to Ermitage in 1787, Thomas Jefferson, the American Ambassador in France, declared his admiration for this white wine the best wine in the world, with no equal. His comments on the red wines were just as praising Full-bodied, dark purple with exquisite flavours.
The terroirs for the whites are quite different. Generally Marsanne and Roussanne are planted on the high plateau on the localities of Maison Blanche and Roucoules. The soils are composed of Loess and limestone which are ideal for white varieties. The balance between the 2 varieties gives the wine a good acidity with great structure.
The vintage :
The winter in 2014 was characterised by mild temperatures for the region and heavy rainfall until mid-March. The heat and water reserves allowed an early start to the vegetation. Spring was dry until late June, with signs of hydric stress in some sectors. However flowering and fruit set were optimal, guaranteeing a great crop. The months of July and August, particularly cool and wet, slowed the cycle of the vine, forcing the winemakers to strengthen surveillance of the vineyard. Early September starts off with two lovely sunny weeks, along with an optimal maturity of the grapes.
The prestigious hill overlooking the village of Tain lHermitage and the Rhne river. Located on the left bank of the river, this vineyard is south facing and is sheltered from the cold northern wind.
Varieties are vinified separately. Whole bunches are crushed and long fermentation at low temperatures of 12/15C. Ageing in new oak casks during 10 months rounding the wine.
Tasting notes :
Attractive dense yellow colour with bright green reflections. The nose has a beautiful intensity, hot stones, very ripe, fruity, lemon with floral notes of acacia, hawthorn, subtle ageing notes of sweet spices. The palate is rich and persistent, a great complexity with notes of ripe fruit, spices, toasty. Long finish with floral and mineral flavours of great elegance.
Drink now with poultry. Decant an hour before and serve at a temperature of 12-13°C. You can also keep this wine a few years and drink it when aromas of dried fruit have developed.
This is framed by lilting acacia and honeysuckle aromas while the core of white peach, yellow apple, salted butter and blanched almond streams through. The long finish has a bright quinine note for spine.
James Molesworth, Wine Spectator, Note : 94/100, 2016-12-15
Quite sweet and rich. Good density. A little soft on the end.
Jancis Robinson, Note : 17/20, 2016-01-21