M. Chapoutier Chante Alouette Hermitage Blanc 2006
Rhone White Blends 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, Marsanne is able to make some of the world's top and most long-lived whites. The vineyard from which the grapes are selected is located at the top of the Hermitage slop and extends down to the bottom, near the Meal vineyard. The soil is made of loess and covered with chalky clay and it is managed utilizing various biodynamic practices.
The color is a brilliant, golden green.
On the nose the wine is complex and subtle, with aromas of quince, honey, ginger, accacia with a hint of lime blossom.
In the mouth the wine is powerful without harshness, with a finish that reminds one of almond. Very elegant and long on the finish.
Pairs well with fois gras, crayfish, lobster, poultry in sauces, white meats, goat cheese, blue cheese, spicy dishes and curry.
Wine Spectator - "Really lush, with chamomile, sweet butter, macadamia nut, citrus peel and yellow apple flavors that pump through the rich, layered finish, where hints of fig and green tea echo. Very accessible now, but there's also purity and balance for aging. Drink now through 2020. "
The Wine Advocate - "One of the top successes for Chapoutier is his sensational white wine, the 2006 Ermitage Chante Alouette. One of the finest examples of this cuvee he has yet made, this wine possesses tons of glycerin, an oily texture, and huge, rich, marmalade and buttery notes intermixed with notions of white currants and quince. A full-bodied, intense, dry white, it is meant to be consumed with intensely flavored cuisines. It should evolve for 10-15+ years."
M. Chapoutier Winery
No name is more closely associated with the greatness of the Rhone 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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