M. Chapoutier Vin de Paille Hermitage Blanc (half-bottle) 2003
Rhone White Blends from Hermitage, Rhone, France
The 2003 Chapoutier Vin de Paille opens with brilliant golden hue in the glass while being complex and subtle with aromas of honey, acacia and straw. On the palate, the wine is very well balanced and concentrated with an extraordinary length.
Wine Spectator - "This singular sweet wine delivers jaw-dropping fruit--mango, papaya, blood orange and glazed peach--with a nervy spine buried in its creamy texture. Marzipan- and mineral-filled finish evaporates slowly, leaving a firm but mouthwatering impression behind. "
The Wine Advocate - "One of the specialities at this estate is the limited production (about 2,000 375 ml bottles) dessert wines called Ermitage Vin de Paille. The 2003 is an amazing elixir possessing 15% alcohol and 160 grams of residual sugar. A light gold color, unctuous texture, and extraordinary notes of white truffles, orange marmalade, molasses, and creme brulee emerge from this rich, decadent, luxurious offering. It should last for 100+ years. "
International Wine Cellar - "Deep gold. Intense, complex aromas of dried apricot and honey. Thick, silky and superconcentrated, with distinctly wild flavors of apricot, truffle and damp earth. Conveys a tactile impression of extract. The '02 version is much fresher but not as honeyed, notes Mazoyer. Finishes silky and impressively long. This is 14% alcohol with 160 grams per liter of residual sugar."
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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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