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M. Chapoutier Hermitage Chante Alouette Blanc 2006

  • WS95
  • RP93
750ML / 14.5% ABV
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750ML / 14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

100% Marsanne

The highly sought-after appellation of Hermitage is named after the tiny chapel at its highest point (once home to hermits). Most do not realize Hermitage is comprised of just a few hilltops with very dense terrior. Steep southerly facing terraces with unique microclimates drive rich complexity in the wines. In Hermitage, Marsanne is able to make some of the world's top and most long-lived whites. The vineyard from which the grapes are selected is located at the top of the Hermitage slop and extends down to the bottom, near the Meal vineyard. The soil is made of loess and covered with chalky clay and it is managed utilizing various biodynamic practices.

The color is a brilliant, golden green.

On the nose the wine is complex and subtle, with aromas of quince, honey, ginger, accacia with a hint of lime blossom.

In the mouth the wine is powerful without harshness, with a finish that reminds one of almond. Very elegant and long on the finish.

Pairs well with fois gras, crayfish, lobster, poultry in sauces, white meats, goat cheese, blue cheese, spicy dishes and curry.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 95
Wine Spectator
Really lush, with chamomile, sweet butter, macadamia nut, citrus peel and yellow apple flavors that pump through the rich, layered finish, where hints of fig and green tea echo. Very accessible now, but there's also purity and balance for aging. Drink now through 2020.
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
One of the top successes for Chapoutier is his sensational white wine, the 2006 Ermitage Chante Alouette. One of the finest examples of this cuvee he has yet made, this wine possesses tons of glycerin, an oily texture, and huge, rich, marmalade and buttery notes intermixed with notions of white currants and quince. A full-bodied, intense, dry white, it is meant to be consumed with intensely flavored cuisines. It should evolve for 10-15+ years.
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M. Chapoutier

M. Chapoutier

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M. Chapoutier, 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.

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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.

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Full-bodied and flavorful, white Rhône blends originate from France’s Rhône Valley. Today these blends are also becoming popular in other regions, proving most successful in Spain, Australia and California. 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.

In the Glass

Each variety contibutes something unique and different. Round, textural Grenache blanc gives green apple and white stone fruit flavors; weighty Marsanne adds structure and honeysuckle aromas; russet-colored Roussanne lends intriguing herbal, tea-like notes while Viognier provides a creamy texture and elegant aromatics. The flavor of the final wine will depend on the chosen components of the blend and their respective proportions.

Perfect Pairings

White Rhône blends are quite versatile food pairing wines and can work with light to medium rich meals that might often be matched to red wines. Heavier fish dishes with bold seasoning like grilled swordfish with caper butter or baked, herb-crusted mahi mahi are natural allies for these flavorful wines. Other ideal dishes include roast pork in mustard sauce, poached lobster with beurre blanc, or a rich and savory vegetable quiche. `

Sommelier Secret

In the Northern Rhône, blends of Marsanne and Roussanne are common in the appellations of St.-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage and St-Péray. Condrieu and Château-Grillet can produce single-varietal Viognier only. The Southern Rhône, on the other hand, has much more variety, with many more permitted grapes including the ones named above as well as Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picpoul and Ugni Blanc.

CGM14584_2006 Item# 109492

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