Yann Chave, Hermitage Rouge, 2019

Produced by Yann Chave

Wine Critic Scores:
Matt Walls 96
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Yann Chave

Yann Chave produces gloriously aromatic Syrah from the Rhone Valley in France. His Crozes Hermitage is aged principally in stainless steel vats and is one of the very best examples of the appellation. Le Rouvre is a selection of the oldest vines from a splendidly sited parcel in the south of the appellation and is aged in 500 litre demi-muids. It combines ripe, spicy aromas with vivid fruit and a dense, chewy texture. Yann makes only a few barrels of his Hermitage, a rich, concentrated wine of great power and personality.

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Yann Chave

Rhone

The area is split into 2 parts that make very different wines; The Northern Rhone and the Southern Rhone, both parts are affected by the strong cold wind known as the mistral that blows intermittently throughout the region keeping the vineyards clear of mold, mildew, pests and frosts but sometimes causing damage to the vines. The Northern Rhone is smaller and has a continental climate with warm days and cool nights. The best vineyards are situated on the steep river banks of the Rhone river and produce complex, age worthy, terroir driven wines from single varietal Syrah. The most notable wines come from Cote Rotie, Hermitage and Cornas. Although the production is mostly red wine, there is excellent single varietal Viognier (Condrieu) produced as well as Marsanne and Roussanne blends. The Southern Rhone is vastly different, the valley flattens out and there is a huge range of terroir producing a range of different styles. The climate is hot and dry which yields ripe, fruit driven wines. There are numerous wines produced under various appellations from simple Cotes du Rhone (The grapes can come from anywhere in the Rhone) which is medium bodied wine with red fruit and spice character, Cotes du Rhone Villages which has a higher level of concentration and complexity. The 9 Cru Villages produce the best quality wines in the Southern Rhone, the most famous of these villages are Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas and Vacqueyras which are rich and full bodied with high alcohol levels. Several grape varieties are permitted and the wines are mostly blends that are dominated by Grenache with Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault playing supporting roles. A small percentage of white wine is produced from Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier and Clairette.

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Rhone

Northern Rhone

Located in the vast Rhone Valley wine region, the northern Rhone is a famous French wine producing region whose northern point is just below the city of Lyon, and southern point around the town of Valence. Separated from the more prolific southern Rhone by the 45th parallel (and a gap of about 40 kilometres) the northern Rhone is responsible for less than 10 percent of the greater Rhone Valley output, but most of the focus is on premium quality wines. Wine made in the northern Rhone is typically red and almost exclusively produced from Syrah. Even though the output is small the three white wine varieties of the northern Rhone, Marsanne, Viognier and Roussanne, all play a part, either on their own or as a minor blending component in the Syrah. Historically the appellations of Saint-Joseph, Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage and Cote-Rotie make the most highly regarded red wines of the northern Rhone, while Condrieu is a distinctive white wine appellation, making both sweet and dry wines from Viognier.

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Northern Rhone

Hermitage

A prestigious appellation of the northern Rhone in France, the tiny hill of Hermitage produces some of France's most well-known and highly regarded wines. Located behind the town of Tain l'Hermitage, the granite-rich slopes have been used to make world-class wine for hundreds of years. Famously Hermitage was the preferred wine of Louis XIII and XIV, and its use as a gift to visiting nobles and dignitaries helped it gain favour around the world. Syrah grapes make up the majority of plantings in the south-facing vineyards, accounting for about 75 percent of production. Top quality Hermitage Syrah can age for up to 30 years and the intense, peppery, black and red fruit flavours marry with distinct notes of leather and tobacco. Long ageing white wines also have a home in Hermitage, primarily made from Marsanne, and these are laden with honeysuckle and peachy tropical fruit flavours.

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Hermitage

Syrah

Syrah, most famously found growing in the northern Rhone Valley, is a dark-skinned grape capable of producing diverse wines of various flavours and styles. Typically known for its dark-berry fruit flavour and distinct black pepper aroma, Syrah wines age well, and develop complex flavours of leather, licorice and woody herbs. Outside of the Rhone, good examples of Syrah can be found in New Zealand, the United States and South America. Australia has a style of its own, famously known the world over as Shiraz.

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Syrah
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