Marquise de la Tourette 2000 – Marvellous Hermitage

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.

Mature Barolo – funky, cool and awesome!

Barolo is cool, awesome and funky. But mature Barolo is even cooler, more awesome and funkier!!! Probably because you so seldom get to drink the stuff!

Okey – I admit! I am a bit of a Barolo/Nebbiolo fan but my cellar is not big (have a sneak peak here!) and the range of mature Barolos at the swedish wine an spirit monopoly Systembolaget is not great (and to be honest a bit too expensive for me).

So when I got the chance to pitch my Giovanni Voerzio 2000 against a Prunotto Barolo 2000 (courtesy of my sister-in-law’s husband Michael Helldén) I didn’t hesitate. The planned La Spinetta Barbera tasting had to wait for another day (all things good to those who wait!).

Young Barolo used to be a palatekiller. If you ever tasted a young Barolo from the good old days when extreme skin contact and no destemming was the rule – you know what I mean. The tannins were so hard and firm that it felt like your teeth would fall off/out when you tasted it. It took decades for the wines to mellow (if they ever did) and nebbiolo was just for nebbiolo afficionados and no one else!

Today most Barolos are still massive but more modern in style. The wines are fruitier, more balanced and got more ripe tannins. Some producers use new oak – and on the whole the wines are better and more clean and consumer friendly than they ever been. That probably also means that they no longer hold as long in the cellar as they used to!?

What are your experiences and opinons on that? Comment below.

Here are my tasting notes!

Gianni Voerzio Barolo La Serra 2000
Orange-brick colour showing some age!
Quite developed nose with nuts, chocolate, buttered cookies, leather, roses and herbs. A bit aromatic/perfumed.
Medium bodied, silky and mellow on the palate with notes of red berries, dried fruits, herbs and leather. Concentrated but mellow and mature. Long finish! Definitely mature. Drink now!

Prunotto Barolo 2000
Deeper brick/orange and brown.
Developed nose with mint, herbs, farmyard notes and nuts. Almost portlike and a hint of steak.
Mediumbodied concentrated taste with notes of tobacco, herbs/spices, chocolate and oak. More pronounced tannins but the taste is silky and mature in texture. Long impressive finish. Mature but could probably take another 2-5 years in the cellar.

Me doin’ my thang with two 11 year old Barolos!