Jaboulet Hermitage Blanc Le Chevalier de Sterimberg 2019
Powerful and fragrant nose of peaches, white flowers and lemongrass. The taste of minerals in inescapable, allowing this broad-shouldered Hermitage Blanc to linger gently on the palate. Bright, energetic, and lip-smackingly delicious.
Blend: 70% Marsanne, 30% Roussanne
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
As with the 2018, the Marsanne-dominated 2019 Hermitage Le Chevalier De Sterimberg Blanc includes 30% Roussanne. Lots of buttered citrus, toasted bread, white flowers, and a touch of pineapple all emerge from this young, unevolved, medium to full-bodied Hermitage Blanc. With remarkable purity, bright, integrated acidity, and a great finish, it's very much in the elegant, vibrant style of this cuvée and is beautifully done. Give bottles 2-3 years and it should keep for 20 years or more.
Sliced green-apple and melon aromas with lychees and citrus fruit follow through to a medium body with plenty of fruit in the center palate and a layered, mineral finish. Light notes of almond paste. A little tight now. From organically grown grapes.
The 2019 Hermitage Blanc Le Chevalier de Sterimberg is just a bit flinty and smoky on the nose, then bursts with ripe pineapple and pear notes and hints of melon and white peach. Medium to full-bodied, it's almost crystalline in its fruit purity and dimension, with clean edges and ample length capped by an attractive hint of bitterness on the lingering finish. As usual, this is roughly two-thirds Marsanne and one-third Roussanne.
Paul Jaboulet Aîné has been a trend-setting grower and shipper in the Rhône since 1834. The Jaboulet company was founded by Antoine Jaboulet, and his twin sons, Paul and Henri continued to expand the family business. The elder son ("aîné" in French), Paul, established the company in its present form and gave it his own name. Since then, the company has been run by successive generations of sons from that side of the Jaboulet family.
The House of Paul Jaboulet Aîné is one of the Rhône’s most recognizable wineries. The reputation of Jaboulet wines rests on the quality of the well-situated and well-tended vineyards, on low yields, careful vinification, and diligent aging in oak casks. The Jaboulet family prefers carefully integrated oak aging, in which the influence of wood is never allowed to become excessive. Since this is an important point, they have their own cooper who makes and maintains their stock of barrels.
Jaboulet wines symbolize robustness and elegance, essential qualities of great wines. Their crown jewel is their Hermitage "La Chapelle" which Clive Coates states "is one of the great red wines of the world." Thomas Matthews of Wine Spectator has singled out Jaboulet as a producer which "offers reliable wines across the entire range of appellations (in the northern and southern Rhône)."
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.