Domaine Combier Crozes-Hermitage Clos des Grives 2012 Front Label
Domaine Combier Crozes-Hermitage Clos des Grives 2012 Front Label

Domaine Combier Crozes-Hermitage Clos des Grives 2012

  • RP91
750ML / 0% ABV
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  • JS93
  • RP92
  • JS93
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750ML / 0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Opaque color. Wonderful nose combines black fruits, violet, pepper, spice, vanilla and a touch of smoke. New oak flavors lift the wine well. Dense and long. Almost more Hermitage than Crozes.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The more limited production cuvee is the single-vineyard 2012 Crozes Hermitage Clos des Grives, which comes from vines planted in 1954 and sees roughly 50% new barrels. It’s a smoking Crozes that exhibits tons of black raspberry, chocolate covered currants and smoked meat-like aromas and flavors. Medium to full-bodied, ripe, layered and seriously textured, yet also fresh and lively, it’s a fruit-loaded beauty to drink through 2022.
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Domaine Combier

Domaine Combier

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Domaine Combier, France
Domaine Combier Winery Image
Maurice Combier left the Ardeche departement in 1962 and bought property in Pont de l'Isere in the Drome departement to the east. Pont de l'Isere is about 15 kilometres upriver of Drome's capital, Valence. At that time, the Valence area was France's top fruit hub so Maurice continued his father Camille's tradition of growing fruit. The apricots and peaches were sold to a local fruit cooperative and the grapes to the cooperative in Tain l'Hermitage a few kilometers north. During the 1970's, Maurice began working all of his land organically, rather than spraying his plants with dangerous chemicals and pushing production with synthetic fertilizers. As this was previously unheard of in Crozes-Hermitage (and for that matter, just about all of Europe), he become known locally as Maurice le Fou (Crazy Maurice). But before long, the orchards and vineyards had achieved a balance and were producing even more delicious fruit. Other producers in the area soon followed Maurice's lead.

To his delight, Maurice's first son Laurent came into the fold and continued selling their fruit in 1989. Laurent studied viticulture and agriculture in Orange and did apprenticeships at various wine domaines further south, including stints in Chateauneuf du Pape and Domaine d'Ott in Provence. Maurice and Laurent decided to leave the cooperative the next year and set off on their own. They established their own fruit brand called Combier, whose organic peaches and apricots are available throughout much of France. They also began bottling their own wine from vineyards surrounding the house. Slowly Laurent started expanding the cellar, finally constructing an underground chai where all his vinification and aging now takes place. The domaine now comprises 20 hectares (49.4 acres) of vines, of which 90% are red.

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Crozes-Hermitage is Northern Rhone’s largest appellation, surrounding the steep granite faces of Hermitage to its north and south. Here the rolling vineyards are less extreme and its soils, rich in clay-limestone and alluvial matter, produce Syrahs that range from fruity and charming to lush and seductive. The Syrahs of Crozes-Hermitage have more mass than those from St. Joseph but are less intense than those from Hermitage. While many are intended for early consumption, some of the best Syrahs from Crozes-Hermitage will age beautifully for 5-10 years.

Up to 15% of white grapes may theoretically be added to red Crozes at the time of fermentation but whether this is done or not depends on the decision of the winemaker. The best Crozes-Hermitage Syrahs will be fleshy with black fruit (currant, blackberry and black cherry) and bay leaf qualities, notes of tar and stone, and a well-concentrated finish of smooth tannins.

About a tenth of the wine produced in Crozes-Hermitage is white, primarily composed of Marsanne supplemented by smaller amounts of Roussanne.

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.

CNLCNS256_2012 Item# 161931

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