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 :
2010 started with a big freeze and snowfall. Then with the arrival of spring, April was exceptionally warm which allowed an early budburst.
Then during May, the temperatures went back down along with regular rain. Flowering took place as usual end of May beginning of June.
July and August were beautiful. Mid-July, temperatures reached a peak during the day but were often followed by showers at night that cooled down the vegetation. The crop was very healthy and the maturity was fairly late.
In September the temperatures dropped, the nights were cooler which allowed slow maturation of the grapes. Harvest started on September 25th.
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.
A lush, languid style, with creamed pear, sweetened butter and yellow apple fruit flavors all gliding through the flattering finish, where green almond and chamomile notes help stretch this out even more. Delicious.
Wine Spectator, Note : 92/100, 2011-11-02
The outstanding 2010 Hermitage Blanc (a barrel-aged blend of 70% Marsanne and 30% Roussanne) exhibits copious notes of marzipan, creme brulee, honeysuckle, rose water and fresh fruit along with good minerality as well as acidity.
Wine Advocate, Note : 91/100, 2011-12-01
Pretty tight and inscrutable at this (low) temperature! Lightly minty aftertaste.
Jancis Robinson, Note : 16/20, 2012-03-01
An expensive wine for sure, but an extremely good - and interesting - one, made by Nicolas Jaboulet of the famous Rhône family in a joint project with the equally famous Perrins. An obvious overlay of oak adds delicious notes of whisky barrel and nuttiness, but it is really quite subtle and does not mask the precise but exotic fruit (70% Marsanne and 30% Roussanne). The palate is very cool and restrained, firm and with good tension, but a burgeoning sense of weight, power and a touch of heat says this is a big but beautiful white wine that will surely age for a decade too.
The Wine Gang, Note : 92/100
Light, bright gold. Heady aromas of lemon curd, poached pear, peach and beeswax, with subtle vanilla and smoke nuance building with air. Deeply concentrated but lively, o ering palate-staining pit and orchard fruit avors underscored by smoky minerals. A oral quality emerges with air and carries through a long, sappy and penetrating finish. This powerful, energetic wine should be a long-distance runner.
International Wine Cellar, Note : 92/100, 2013-04-01
Terroir-driven wine of interesting length and depth. Suited to many dishes.
Decanter, Note : 18/20 (93/100), 2014-04-07