Chapoutier La Sizeranne Hermitage 2004
Syrah/Shiraz from Hermitage, Rhone, France
The highly sought-after appellation of Hermitage is named after the tiny chapel at its highest point (once home to hermits). Most do not realize Hermitage is comprised of just a few hilltops with very dense terrior. Steep southerly facing terraces with unique microclimates drive rich complexity in the wines. In Hermitage, Syrah achieves its noblest expression. The vineyard from which the grapes are selected is located near the Meal and Greffieux vineyards. The soil is varied, comprised in the west of granite (which forms the soul of good Hermitage wines), old alluvial terraces with gravel and rolled pebbles, and limon with rolled stones in the east. It is managed utilizing various biodynamic practices.
The color is deep garnet red with purple highlights.
The wine has aromas of red fruit (raspberry and black currant) with a hint of licorice.
And in the mouth it is round and elegant with soft and concentrated tannins, and a long finish.
Wine Spectator - "Slightly firm, with taut, sinewy tannins driving the black cherry, currant, tobacco and mineral notes. Hints of purple fruit and flowers on the focused finish. Drink now through 2014."
Wine Enthusiast - "Chapoutier's biggest cuvée of Hermitage is the relatively affordable Monier de Sizeranne, a smoky, spicy rendition that’s a pretty classic rendition. Peppery notes accent the raspberry, cherry and red fruit flavors that finish with crisp acids. Nicely done, with silky tannins on the finish. Drink now–2015."
Wine & Spirits - "The concentrated ripeness is heady and intense, showing crushed black cherry flavors mingled with more exotic notes of tea leaf and sandalwood. Yet it still carries a sense of place, a prominent mineral character pushing insistently to the foreground alongside the dense fruit. Give it another three to five years in the cellar to settle down."
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M. Chapoutier Winery
No name is more closely associated with the greatness of the Rhône valley than M. Chapoutier.
The history of the Chapoutier family stretches back to the early nineteenth century when current owner Michel Chapoutier’s great-, great-, great-grandfather Marius purchased an estate and some vineyards in the now famous village of Tain l’Hermitage in the Northern Rhône Valley. Marius Chapoutier made history in the region when he became the first grape grower there to vinify his own fruit. Marius had tasted wines other winemakers produced using his fruit and he realized that something was lost in translation, so to speak. He knew that he owned some of the best growing sites in the appellation and he believed — rightly — that the grapes grown in his vineyards could produce long-lived world-class wines. In a move unusual at the time, he decided that he should make the wine himself. Not only did the quality of the wines increase greatly, but this move provided the capital to expand the Chapoutiers’ already legendary estate.
A visionary and pioneer in biodynamic winemaking, his restless energy and unconditional commitment to quality have produced tremendous success, with the most 90+ point ratings of all Rhône producers and 16 "100 point" rated wines. View all M. Chapoutier Wines
About HermitageView a map of Hermitage wineries (EHR-me-tahj) and Crozés-Hermitage (krohz EHR-me-tahj)
Notable FactsSyrah is the only varietal permitted in the red wines, while whites are typically blends of both Marsanne and Roussanne. All three varieties grow on the Hermitage hill. The red wines of Hermitage are powerful, age-worthy wines, often commanding prices similar to those of top Bordeaux. They are big in fruit and tight in tannins, but with a few years of age (from three years to three decades) they are beautifully complex, perfumed and sensuous. Their whites are somewhat mineral-driven, and depending on the blend, may have an almost oily texture (in a good way!).
Like the island of Manhattan, once all the land of Hermitage is gone, the land is gone – hard to create sprawl from an already established hill. So winemakers planted in the vineyards surrounding Hermitage, in the much larger and flatter appellation of Crozés-Hermitage. The area produces wines of the same make-up of Hermitage – reds from Syrah, whites from Marsanne and Roussanne. Red wines are allowed up to 15% of the white varieties. Some of the reds are full of fruit flavor and ready to drink now, while others are trying to follow Hermitage, by making wines with lots of power and longevity. The whites are few, but enjoyable with good fruit and the same texture of those from Hermitage.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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