Okay, okay, I know it's a long mouthful of a title. But the wine is well worth it, I promise. As many of you already know, I am a Rhône wine fanatic, thanks to a previous boss of mine. He introduced me to the wonders of the wine I shall be buried with, Côte Rôtie, a brawny & animalistic, yet elegant expression of Syrah. You see, he was a Rhône fanatic, so like some form of wine osmosis, it transferred into my brain.
We reveled in the juicy, peppery, fruity loveliness of Châteauneuf du Pape, the affordable, yet delicious rosés, and the tiny areas of my obsession, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Rasteau, Tavel, countless village wines, and of course, Crozes Hermitage, the budget friendly child of the Northern Rhone.
I won't kid you and tell you drinking a Crozes is like drinking a full blown Hermitage, but it still makes for one pleasurable glass of wine, if you choose wisely. In the right hands, a Crozes gives you that addictive Northern Rhone character, and your wallet doesn't sear a hole in your pants.
QUICK rundown: Crozes-Hermitage is in the Northern Rhône, and is the largest appellation, surrounding the famous Hermitage to the north, south, and east. It was declared an AOC in 1937, and covers around 3200 acres. Like all red wine in the North, the only permitted grape is Syrah. Fine by me! (Fun hint: Look for a show on this with Dr. Bill, Stephen, and myself on Expert Drinking this year)
On to this fabulous selection!
2009 Domaine Saint Clair La Fleur Enchantée (The Enchanted/Magic Flower) : I have tried this wine a couple of times over the past 10 months, and what a development! Many of the rougher edges and brawniness have smoothed out beautifully, and it currently drinks just perfectly. Fantastic and full notes of violet, tar, black cherry, blackberry, tobacco, baking spice, wild herbs, cocoa, and chunky earth. Syrah how I like it. With a distinct sense of place and terroir, this is how you experience the difference between California or Aussie Syrah/Shiraz and the same grape in France. Go get it. Drink it. At $25-30, it's a great way to experience the Northern Rhône.