2012 M. Chapoutier "Les Varonniers" Crozes-Hermitage (Pre-Arrival)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Opaque ruby. Intense cherry and dark berry scents are enlivened by bright mineral and spice nuances. Deeply pitched blackberry and bitter cherry flavors show power as well as finesse, with a sexy floral pastille note adding complexity. The minerality adds bite to the finish, which lingers with impressive energy and persistence.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A smoking Crozes Hermitage, the 2012 Crozes Hermitage les Varonniers sports a vibrant purple color to go with notes of black cherries, bouquet garni and ground pepper. Medium to full-bodied, soft, fleshy and beautifully textured, is has enough underlying tannin to keep it drinking nicely through 2022 or so. It's worth noting that at a recent 2003 retrospective, this was firing on all cylinders and bested more than a few more expensive Hermitage. (JD)
Vivid ruby. Highly aromatic cherry and red berry scents are complicated by licorice, Indian spices and cola. Deeply concentrated dark fruit flavors show a suave blend of sweet and tangy, with a mineral nuance adding lift. Gains weight and sweetness on the clinging finish, which features a cherry-cola quality and fine-grained tannins that come on late
This has ample toast, but the core of raspberry, plum and blackberry fruit is wonderfully melded with savory, iron and anise notes. A graphite edge lends racy feel through the finish, with a tarry backdrop. Rock-solid. Drink now through 2020.
West facing but very similar granite soils to Hermitage. Mid crimson. Tight and dense and chewy. Like bone-dry cocoa powder. Grainy. Drink 2016-2021.
"Les Varonniers" is a selection of Chapoutier's oldest Syrah vines, more than 60 years old on average.