In our too short time in the Northern Rhône, we managed to cover quite a bit of ground and tasted some fabulous wines. One of my favorite tasting experiences was at M. Chapoutier in Tain. The Chapoutier family has been making wine for over 200 years. They own 34 hectares in Hermitage and were the first owners; some of the vines are over 100 years old. Known as “the birth place of Syrah” Hermitage is a small appellation, with only 137 hectares in total. The majority is Syrah, with 30 acres of white varieties (Marsanne and Roussanne). The vines are perfectly situated with a western exposure, Mediterranean climatic influences, and shelter from the northernly winds. The soils vary from plot to plot across the hill making each wine distinctly different.
Beyond Hermitage, M. Chapoutier make dozens of different wines, both single vineyard and blends, with new ventures beyond France in Portugal and Australia!
We tasted through an extensive flight of both red and white wines, across Hermitage, Ermitage, Condrieu, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Péray appellations, giving us a great sense of the varied terroir in the region. Fun fact I didn’t know, “Ermitage” refers to a wine from a single plot on Hermitage hill, while “Hermitage” refers to a blend. While we didn’t get to taste any of the Ermitage wines (L’Ermite is made from 120 year old vines just at the top of the hill and retails for $554/bottle!) the others we were able to taste were all really delicious.
My favorites were the 2012 Monier de la Sizeranne Hermitage, the 2015 Les Arènes Cornas, and the 2016 Invitare Condrieu.
Following the tasting, we drove up the hill to the top for magnificent views of the river and beyond.