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M. Chapoutier Crozes Hermitage Varonniers (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2013

Syrah/Shiraz from Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone, France
  • RP93
  • WS92
0% ABV
  • JD99
  • WS94
  • RP93
  • WS92
  • RP92
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Winemaker Notes

The small 2.55 hectare block of Syrah planted here on the west-facing, mistral-stripped side of Hermitage Hill, could well be one of the sweetest anomalies in the wine world. Its soil types, much more like Hermitage than the more rolling and often flat plantings of the broad swath of the surrounding Crozes, give it a distinction much like that of Hermitage. This plot, known as Varognes, historically and officially recognized as a "lieu-dit," is blended with wine from old Syrah vines in the Les Meysonniers site in southern Crozes-Hermitage.

Les Varonniers, whose name results from the contraction of the two vineyard sites from which its grapes originate exhibits aromas of very ripe red fruit and black currant, followed by raspberry, then licorice, with vanilla and jam at the finish.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2013 Crozes Hermitage les Varonniers is brilliant. Coming from the western edge of Hermitage’s Bessards lieu-dit (this is a cool, west-facing parcel of granite soils), its deep ruby/purple color is followed by classic granite-induced aromas and flavors of burning embers, cassis, licorice, spring flower and pepper. This Mini-Hermitage is medium-bodied, nicely concentrated and has building tannic grip; it will drink well for 10-15 years.
WS 92
Wine Spectator
An underlying loamy note pushes the core of steeped plum and blackberry fruit, while charcoal, bay and iron details stream through the finish. Best from 2017 through 2022.
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M. Chapoutier

M. Chapoutier

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M. Chapoutier, Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone, France
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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.

Crozes-Hermitage

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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.

Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah accounts for a good deal of some of the most intense, powerful and age-worthy reds in the world. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah still achieves some of its maximum potential here, especially from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.

Syrah also plays an important component in the canonical Southern Rhône blends based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, adding color, depth, complexity and structure to the mix. Today these blends have become well-appreciated from key appellations of the New World, namely Australia, California and increasingly, with praise, from Washington.

In the Glass

Syrah typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper and even bacon, smoke or black olive. In Australia, where it goes under the name Shiraz, it produces deep, dark, intense and often, jammy reds. While Northern Rhône examples are typically less fruity and more earthy, California appears increasingly capable of either style.

Perfect Pairings

Flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb, grilled meats, spareribs and hard, aged cheeses are perfect with Syrah. Blue cheeses are perfect with a dense and fruit-driven Australian Shiraz.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” winemakers throughout the world have adopted this synonym for Syrah when they have produced a plush and fruit forward wine made in the Australian style. As an aside, Australians are also fond of tempering their fruit-forward Shiraz by blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds depth and structure.

SWS400613_2013 Item# 361539