Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage wine characteristics typify the terroir

Hermitage Wine Characteristics: Flavors That Are Worth the Wait

Wines from Hermitage are some of the most delicious and rewarding to age. They can taste a little closed off in their youth, but over time they transform into deeply complex wines packed with peppery, smoky flavors. There is also a lot of flavor variety in wines from this region. For example, a wine enthusiast posting on the Wine Berserkers forum tried two bottles of Hermitage at dinner—a 2004 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon and a 2007 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle. The 2007 wine was flavorful and juicy, but still a little green–a common quality in relatively young Hermitage. The 2004 wine was more complex, aromatic, and much more mature tasting, despite being only a few years older. Although these two estates are located only about three miles apart, the two wines couldn’t have been more different. Terroir, age, and vintage strongly influence Hermitage wine characteristics. 

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Some of the best Southern Rhone producers are Rayas, Pegau, and Beaucastel.

Your Guide to the Best Southern Rhone Producers, Appellations, and Vintages

After your first experience with the best Southern Rhône producers, it’s hard not to fill your cellar up with these incredible bottles. One of my colleagues started buying Barroche Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Pure in 2004, and she has continued to buy this label ever since. The wine’s fine tannin, elegance, and perfectly ripe fruit flavors draw her back to this producer year after year, and she has also started collecting some of the estate’s other delicious wines, like the Signature label.

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Some of the best Châteauneuf-du-Pape vintages made by iconic producers like Pegau.

The Best Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vintages for Cellaring and Investing

What are the best Châteauneuf-du-Pape vintages for cellaring? Nearly all of them, to some extent. This region has a reputation for producing wines with great aging potential–most red Châteauneuf-du-Pape benefits from at least five years in a cellar, and the finest vintages can even last for decades. Last month, I met a collector who had a bottle of 1998 Pégaü Cuvée Laurence in his cellar that he had completely forgotten about until this summer. When he opened the wine, he was met with wonderfully intense, earthy aromas, soft tannin, and rich flavors of smoked meat. After 20 years, the wine had reached near perfection.

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La Turque is a highly-rated Northern Rhone wine

A Guide to Northern Rhône Wine

My love of wine from the Northern Rhône began with a bottle of Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage la Chapelle. The level of complexity in the wine was astounding, and I felt as though I could actually taste the region’s crushed granite soil. It was a perfect expression of terroir, and to this day, that wine remains one of the best Syrahs I’ve ever had. After this experience, I wanted to learn more about the Northern Rhône wine region. I perused guides to Northern Rhône wine to better understand the region’s diverse appellations and I tasted as many different wine styles from this area as I could to gain insight into the classic characteristics of the region’s Syrah, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier.

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2010 Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape

Hidden Gem of the Month: 2010 Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee da Capo Is Ready for a Popularity Boom

I often take for granted the fact that I am a relatively young collector. When I see that a wine will last 30 or more years in a cellar, I’m giddy with excitement; I know I’ll get to see that wine evolve completely and reach peak maturity. However, older collectors view these long-lived wines differently.…

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1991 gentaz-dervieux

Unicorn Wines: 1991 Gentaz-Dervieux Is So Rare, It’s Practically Extinct

You might have better luck finding a real unicorn than you will locating an authentic bottle of 1991 Gentaz-Dervieux. With high ratings and an extremely limited number of bottles left worldwide, this is one of the most sought-after Rhone Cote-Rotie bottles on the market. Its rarity alone is enough to make any serious collector take…

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2011 Jamet Cote-Rotie

Hidden Gem of the Month: 2011 Jamet Cote-Rotie Is a Silky Rhone Drinkable at Any Age

Rhone wine expert John Livingstone-Learmonth isn’t easy to impress, yet when he talks about Jamet, he gushes, “A lot of people would give their right arm to possess even a fraction of this family’s vineyards.” For decades now, Jamet has produced the Rhone wines with greater complexity and depth of flavor than many other estates…

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cote-rotie syrah

Hidden Gem of the Month: 2012 Jamet Côte-Rôtie Syrah Brings Densely Complex Flavors to the Table

This past summer, I was fortunate enough to attend a wine event offering samples of some incredible Rhône wines, including a number of Syrah vintages. As one might expect, most of the wines that I tried were heavy in new oak flavors, brimming with intense earthiness. While these wines were delicious, by the end of…

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