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 :
After 2010 (a very balanced vintage) and 2009 (a powerful vintage), 2011 offered plenty fruit, freshness and body. Besides a hot spring and early flowering, the summer was relatively cold and wet and the advance made was caught up. During the month of September, the sun dominated most of the time and the maturity was progressive. The crop came in continuously up until the first days of October for the plots of higher elevation and needed more time to reach perfect maturity. The crop was healthy, the grapes of good quality and the quantities were plentiful.
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 :
With its golden colour, this wine is already showing depth and fatness. The nose is complex with aromas of candied fruit and spices. The mouth is full and has a great length.
Drink now with poultry. Decant an hour before and serve at a temperature of 12/13C. You can also keep this wine a few years and drink it when aromas of dried fruit have developed.
Light gold. Ripe tangerine and poached pear aromas are complicated by smoky minerals and gingery spices. Rich and weighty but energetic as well, offering bitter citrus pith and orchard fruit flavors, a hint of anise and a chewy texture. A floral note builds on the spicy, very persistent finish, which is firmed by a dusty mineral quality.
International Wine Cellar, Note : 92/100, 2014-03-12
This cuts a broad swath, with salted butter, creamed melon, mango, peach and acacia notes all gliding along, offering a creamy mouthful and a lovely, lilting finish.
Wine Spectator, Note : 93/100, 2013-07-10