Jean-Louis Chave Crozes-Hermitage Rouge 'Silene' 2009
Syrah/Shiraz from Rhone, France
The vineyards for Silène are hillside vineyards located in Larnage and Gervans. It is rare for Crozes to come from hillside granitic soil as most Crozes is situated on the alluvial valley floor. The granite soil produces a wine with more backbone and structure. The idea behind this Crozes is to balance the fruit of Syrah without compromising the tightness given by the granite. 50% of the Crozes comes from a parcel of young vines planted in 2003 and owned by Domaine Jean Louis Chave. The parcel sits on a beautiful terroir on the rear east-facing flank of the Hermitage hill.
The grapes are vinified at the Domaine using indigenous yeasts and aged for 18 months in 600 liter oak casks. The result is a wine of balance and pleasure and a great introduction to Crozes.
Wine Spectator - "A dark, slightly beefy style, with roasted chestnut and tobacco notes followed by coffee, tar and steeped black currant fruit. The tarry edge lingers through the finish. There's nice old-school character to this. Drink now through 2014. 150 cases imported."
Jean-Louis Chave Winery
Some experts feel that the greatest maker of Hermitage is the firm of Jean-Louis Chave. The Chave family has been growing grapes at Hermitage since 1481. They have a reputation for making good wine in poor years, and excellent wine in good ones. They use low yeilding vines (average age 60 years) and a late harvest to produce the ripest fruit, and there is virtually no intervention in the winemaking and bottling with no filtration.
There are a dozen or so named vineyards in Hermitage, and Chave owns vines in most of them. They vinify each separately, which allows them to blend for greater complexity before bottling. View all Jean-Louis Chave Wines
About Other RhôneOther appellations of the Rhône include: in the North – St-Péray, Chateau Grillet; in the South – Lirac, Côtes du Ventoux, Côtes du Tricastin, Rasteau
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.