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Stephane’s entry level Crozes-Hermitage is led by bright red and garrigue aromatics. The parcels that produce this beauty are distributed among the villages of Crozes-Hermitage, Erôme and Gervans and contain mostly granitic soils with small pockets of loess topsoils, but always on a granitic bedrock. It’s a classic Northern Rhone Syrah delivered with shockingly Burgundian elegance.
|When to Drink||Now|
|Volume||75cl (Full Bottle)|
Stéphane Rousset’s are the kind of terroir driven wines that get us fired up. There’s no tomfoolery, just solid craftsmanship and a clear concession of the vigneron’s voice for that of his terroirs. Stéphane Rousset is one to watch; for no other reason than he lets great terroirs direct his path to elegant, pure wines of substance. He is a vigneron in the truest sense of the word, and from the first smell to the last sip, each bottle sings the melody of the land from which it was born.
The Roussets are blessed with great vineyards in Crozes-Hermitage, aside from Les Picaudières, and a terrific set of side-by-side, east-facing granite parcels in the lieu-dit, Rivoires, across the river, in Saint-Joseph, which just happen to be right around the corner from the original hill from which Saint-Joseph takes its name.
One of the most diverse appellations in France’s Northern Rhone Valley, Crozes-Hermitage is also its biggest. Rousset’s vineyards lie in its most northern communes of Erôme, Gervans, and Crozes-Hermitage (the village the appellation takes its name from). The soil types here differ greatly from the rest of the appellation. Here you find vines on steep terraces of the river’s left bank, above the Rhône and tucked back behind the behemoth hill of Hermitage.
Wine-wise, this appellation is home to France’s noble and rustic red, Syrah. In the three original appellations the soil for Syrah is largely granitic (and many small variations of igneous and metamorphic stones, as is the case for his Crozes-Hermitage vineyard, Les Picaudières). The whites dwell mostly on loess, a fine-grained crystalline soil that was blown in by the wind. Loess is a slightly yellowish white color, rich in minerals and calcium, perfect for Marsanne, the principal white grape. Of course most vineyards are a mixture of the two, but this is a reasonably good rule of thumb.
Across the river, in Tournon, Rousset’s two parcels of St. Joseph are on pure granitic soils. In my humble opinion, in this appellation few, if any, vignerons produce wines above this in class and elegance.
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