Hermitage in northern Rhône truly is one of the worlds great reds. The benchmark for all other syrah/shiraz mono-varietals. And as supply is limited and prices high I do not drink it nearly as often as I would like to.
It is also a wine that really benefits from a few years bottle age. The syrah-grape in Rhône can be painfully harsh and rustic in it’s youth needing a bit of time for the acids and tannins to mellow and the elements to settle down in their right places. The result – a complex and concentrated wine where dark berries meets cured meat, liquorice, leather, violets and spices.
Delas Marquise de la Tourette must be one of the most affordable Hermitage-wines on the market. It is 100 percent Syrah (the AOC allows up to 15 percent of the white grapes Rousanne and Marsanne to be includede – but they seldom are) and made in a traditional way. Yields are around 40 hl/ha and the grapes are off course hand picked. Fermentation takes place in open cement tanks. The malo is done in oak (french barriques 10 percent new).
The 2000 vintage was one of the first I tasted from Marquise de la Tourette. And luckily I bought a few bottles back then. It might not the most concentrated of norhtern Rhône vintages – but produced some really fruity supple wines. Recently I opened one of the last bottles and it was marvellous. At it’s peak – but it can probably take another 5 years in bottle.
The colour was dense ruby going towards brick. The nose slightly closed to begin with. Then after a few minutes in the glass it opened up with notes of dark berries (black berries), black pepper, salmiak, smoke and cured meats. Lots of spices and a bit reminiscent of cough suryp (in a god way – think liquorice and herbs). The taste was medium bodied, quite concentrated with violets, tar, smoked cured meat, leather and dark berries. Again – lots of herbs and black pepper. The finish – long, complex and well balanced.