Betts & Scholl Hermitage Blanc 2005
This partnership is totally dedicated to making great wine as Richard & Dennis see it, which is, ultimately, wine that they like to drink. No trophies, no wine for competition, just wine for the table — wine made to be enjoyed in the spirit of those wines that got Richard hooked on the whole deal in the first place. This is to say wine you can drink everyday — a grocery, if you will — something that is on the table at lunch, at dinner, in harmony with food, an essential part of the meal. This notion is fundamental to great living all over Europe, and it's one that Betts & Scholl aims to bring back and live every day.
So Betts & Scholl chose to make the good stuff! Richard & Dennis' shared aesthetic spoke for elegant, complex, balanced wines of great perfume and finesse with the power to seduce. The object of the B&S fancy is neither the obvious nor the forceful. Instead it is those wines that transport: They taste only of the place from where they’ve come. Come take the trip.
One of the smallest and most important Syrah regions of northern Rhone, Hermitage is practically one single south-facing slope of crushed granite, thinly covered with varied, yet well-charted soil types. Many climats (well identified parcels) exist within Hermitage and while some smaller producers make single climat Syrahs, some larger ones blend to make one balanced expression of the appellation.
Though the AC regulations allow the addition of up to 15% white grapes to a red Hermitage, in practice it is usually made from Syrah alone. Winemaking is pretty traditional—or you might say historic—with hot fermentations and aging in older barrels of various sizes. The best wines, characterized by deep, dense and sexy flavors of black fruit, cocoa, licorice and tobacco, have massive textures and a solid 10-20 years aging potential.
The region of Hermitage is totally enclosed; the only place it could go really is to literally fall down its own hill into the city of Tain or the Rhone River. Soil erosion is a problem and terraces exist alongside the hill in order to keep the earth in place. Crozes-Hermitage encloses the region entirely to its north and south.
While Hermitage seems synonymous with some of the best Syrah on the planet, actually about one third of the wine produced here comes from white grapes. The full, lush and robust Marsanne or the less common, but almost more charming, Roussanne create wonderful whites in which the best have great potential for aging, like the reds.
Full-bodied and flavorful, white Rhône blends originate from France’s Rhône Valley. Today these blends are also becoming popular in other regions. Typically some combination of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier form the basis of a white Rhône blend with varying degrees of flexibility depending on the exact appellation. Somm Secret—In the Northern Rhône, blends of Marsanne and Roussanne are common but the south retains more variety. Marsanne, Roussanne as well as Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picpoul and Ugni Blanc are typical.