Tardieu-Laurent Crozes-Hermitage Vieilles Vignes 2007
Syrah/Shiraz from Hermitage, Rhone, France
Grape Source: Two domaines in Larnage, Battis and Mercurol
Appellation: Crozes-Hermitage is northern Rhône's largest appellation. Located on the right bank of the Rhône River, it almost completely surrounds the Hermitage appellation. The 250 acres of vineyards are mostly on the flatlands that spread out south and east of the hillsides of Hermitage. Syrah, Roussanne and Marsanne grapes are grown here.
Vine Age: 50 years and older
Soil: Clay and granite
Barrel Aging: An average of 20 months in new French oak (Allier and Tronçais)
There is no denying this wine of its terroir. It hums of its unmistakable origins and offers an original hint at licorice.
Wine Spectator - "Shows nice depth and power for the vintage, with roasted plum, coffee, graphite and dark currant paste flavors that are offset by a tangy tobacco note on the finish."
Wine Enthusiast - "Typical for Tardieu-Laurent, this wine is strongly marked by its barrel treatment, which may be enough to put off traditionalists. But the quality and concentration levels of the black cherry fruit underneath are high, and this rather full-bodied, muscular Crozes should develop nicely over the next 5–7 years."
International Wine Cellar - "Youthful purple color. Highly perfumed bouquet of black raspberry, cassis, cinnamon and potpourri. Spicy, sharply focused red and dark berry flavors are complemented by smoky minerality and pick up a suave floral quality with air. Juicy and seamless wine with impressive finishing precision and lingering notes of flowers and spices."
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Domaine Tardieu-Laurent was established in 1994. It is a partnership between Dominique Laurent, a former pattisier (and with the girth to go with it) and one of the hottest names in Burgundy, and Michel Tardieu, a dynamic young winemaker. Tardieu-Laurent is an extremely unusual operation in that they are a négociant only, buying young wines from growers all over the Rhône, which they mature and blend before bottling. They own no vineyards and don't buy grapes, only wine.
Tardieu-Laurent is very much an "artisan" producer, making between half a dozen and 20 or so barrels of each wine. The majority of the wines are from the southern Rhône although superb cuvees of Cote Rôtie and Hermitage are also produced. The wines are all aged in small oak casks (often 100% new) and bottled with no fining nor filtration. Michel Tardieu proclaims himself as a confirmed terroirist, insisting that his aim with each appellation is to express powerfully the fruit and sense of place, never masking these factors with wood. View all Tardieu-Laurent 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 & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.