Ooh, la, la the perfect Rhône white for Thanksgiving! Even more gorgeous now.
Aged for 18 months in French oak, this wine is a voluptuous not only in its aromatics but in flavors. The aromas are complex, whirling blend of lightly toasted almonds, orange marmalade, wet stones, honeysuckle and pineapple. The palate is very intense, succulent from the rich front palate to a finish that just goes on and on.
And so, it has been my goal for as long as I can remember, to one day make something that I felt best showed Marsanne and Roussanne. In 2016, all the stars aligned for me and we brought back Marsanne from the incredibly rocky soils of Stagecoach Vineyard. The last time we made this wine was in 2012, and trust me, this is a white that will age beautifully for 20 years for sure.
To make 2016 vintage even better, I was able to bring in Roussanne also from the Stagecoach Vineyard. All that was left for me to do was believe that I could make magic happen.
As many of you know, I love the whites of the Northern Rhône. Nothing makes my heart pound more than an amazing Condrieu, a St. Joseph Blanc, a Croze-Hermitage or the big one, the elusive one, the one that takes me to the Rhône Tain-l'Hermitage itself...that right, a Hermitage Blanc!
Yes, Guigal Ex Voto Blanc is amazing, and yes, a Chapoutier make the hairs on my arms stand, but for me, it's all about the magic of Chave Hermitage.
It's hard to put it in words why Chave is so magical, except that to me, it demonstrates how Marsanne and Roussanne grown in the right terrior, can make a wine, no more like an elixir, smell and taste as great as this wine does.
One of my favorite Northern Rhône varietals is Marsanne. Coming from great vineyards in St. Joseph, Croze-Hermitage and my favorite Hermitage, where it truly shines. Producers such as Chave and Chapoutier make wines that set the bar.
I know Hermitage is Hermitage and I know the Mountains of Napa are the Mountains of Napa, but without a doubt, I feel this is one of the greatest examples of Marsanne that has been made in California.
Vineyard: Stagecoach, sustainably farmed, originally planted in the late 1800’s then brought to glory in the mid-1990s beginning with the removal of 1 billion pounds of volcanic rock.
Vinification: 85% Marsanne, 15% Roussanne; 321 cases produced.
Why the addition of Roussanne? Marsanne is the star of the show, with intensity of orange blossom, beeswax and spice, add to that the subtle peach and apricot, then mid palate and length that the Roussanne brings to the wine comes through. Not many wines are as exotic and rich as this wine can be, or as age worthy: it will develop beautifully over 20 years, for sure.
The fruit is hand-picked then cold-soaked. I gently foot-stomp the fruit of which 100% whole cluster. None is crushed. The wine goes through open-top, then 100% Malolactic fermentation and aged 18 months in large-format 30% new French oak barrels. In the Cohn Zone: drink now - 2030.
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$.01 12+ 750 mL bottles
$ 15 1 - 11 750 mL bottles
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