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 :
Following the cold months of January and February, the spring was intermittent with periods of sunshine and rain favourable to the growth of the vines. The summer was hot and dry with record temperatures in the middle of August. After a bit of rain mid-September, which allowed to swell up the grapes, the maturing continued when the sun returned. During this period, the days were hot and the nights were cool which provided a good sanitary state to the crop. Ideal conditions for a beautiful harvest which started around 20th September and finished around the 10th October.
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.
Their adventure should have been called “Jaboulet-Perrin” or “Beaucastel-La Chapelle” but when the family business is sold by one of the partners and bans them to use their patronymic, they came up with “Maison Nicolas Perrin”. This young negociant company is therefore the partnership between two major heirs : Nicolas Jaboulet (ex Director of Maison Paul Jaboulet & Fils) and Marc Perrin (Château de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf du Pape). In 2008 these two men from the Rhône Valley get together to mature and sell wine. Their mission is to locate quality plots of Syrah, create partnerships with the winegrowers and follow the winemaking process. The wine is barrelled at the winegrowers and then blended and aged in the Perrin cellars near Orange. Marc blends and Nicolas manages the sales and administration. They are very selective and only work with a dozen of barrels (35 000 bottles in 2010). Bring on the next selections !
A. Gerbelle, La Revue du Vin de France, 2011-11-01
(70% Marsanne and 30% Roussanne): Light yellow-gold. Intensely perfumed aromas of dried pear, peach pit and orange, with notes of anise, honey and jasmine adding complexity. Rich and lively, offering gently chewy orchard and pit fruit flavors lifted by chalky minerality. Closes with firm grip and impressive tenacity, leaving mineral and floral notes behind.
International Wine Cellar, Note : 91/100, 2012-03-01
This is unusually aromatic for a white Hermitage with perfumed notes of pineapple and melon underscored by hint of graphite. It's a plump on the mid palate and custardy-rich in texture, yet focused and long on the finish. Drink now, or sometime after 2017.
Wine Enthusiast, Note : 93/100, 2012-07-01
A marriage between Famille Perrin and Nicolas Jaboulet, this small operation has the luxury of being dedicated simply to the wines. They don’t need to produce large quantities to cover costs, so they think small and focus all of their energy on quality. Isn’t that refreshing? This particular Hermitage Blanc perfectly exemplifies Maison Nicolas Perrin’s dedication to perfection.
Elegant and complex, this great white Rhône shows its ability to support both fruit and oak flavors. Dense and rich with creamy texture and ripe peach fruit plus a hint of toasted oak; lush, juicy with amazing depth, elegance and subtle power; an extraordinary and rare wine from a great vintage.
The Tasting Panel
From the negociant brand started in 2009 by the Perrin Family in partnership with Nicolas Jaboulet, this has the proportions of a Botero nude, curvaceously ripe. It’s oaky with saffron spice that curbs the richness of the fruit; a pleasant bitterness follows the arch of flavors, from yellow peach to full-on pineapple.
Wine & Spirits, Note : 91/100, 2013-02-01