From: Crozes-Hermitage, Northern Rhone, France
Taste: Fragrant nose of blackberries, plums, a hint of leather, followed by layers of fruit roll over the plate, very soft and appealing. Chewy texture, medium finish.
“This micro-production Crozes-Hermitage, from the jewel box lieu-dit ‘Les Voleyses,’ is crafted by an under-the-radar producer destined to become a household name.” – SommSelect
Pairing: All types of roasted, grilled or smoked meat dishes like; duck, beef, veal, sausage, grilled meats, barbecue and chicken dishes. Syrah based wines and game make a perfect wine and food pairing. That said, we’re sharing a recipe today for Homemade Merguez sausage by Melissa Clark, a classic pairing for a wine like this (though to be fair, we get lazy and hit up the local butcher for ours). It’ll yield about 1 pound of sausages & will take about 15 minutes, plus up to 5 days’ refrigeration.
Once part of the cave co-operative at Tain Hermitage (expanded on below), the family vineyards of Domaine Chevalier have gradually been reclaimed by the brother and sister team of Nicolas and Marlène Chevalier. Following his formal agricultural studies in France, Nicolas spent four years honing his winemaking skills on estates in Australia, California and South Africa.
Nicolas works with three distinct parcels: Marius, Petite Pend, and Les Pends. These vineyards have excellent exposure and allow for dependably ripe, high quality grapes, although not without great aromatic character and freshness. The 1.4 hectares of vines are farmed sustainably, then hand harvested, vinified and bottled according to parcel.
The area: A nose for Crozes
“Crozes, the village round the back of the hill, gives its name to Hermitage’s shadow, an appellation producing much more approachable wines from an area that extends almost 10 miles (16 km) both north and south of Tain and Hermitage itself. Only a fraction of the appellation is mapped here. By 2017, almost 4,200 acres (1,700 ha) of vines had been planted among the local cherry and apricot orchards. Unlike Hermitage, land in Crozes-Hermitage is relatively affordable and available – an opportunity for enthusiastic newcomers, joined by an increasing number of local growers who want to bottle the fruit of their own labors, rather than send it to the Cave de Tain co-op (so true, and is the case of this wine and its stewards), which is still responsible for about 40% of the appellation.
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