Here are two sound releases from M. Chapoutier, both from the 2016 vintage. Luberon sits between the southern Rhône valley and Provence, whilst Crozes-Hermitage is in the northern Rhône and quite different in style. The 2016 vintage appears sound in the northern Rhône and a great vintage in the southern Rhône. I find Jancis Robinson’s website useful for vintage reports, although they can be on the tough side. See here www.jancisrobinson.com/learn/vintages.
Luberon Les Incontournables 2016
This is pretty good for $14. A grenache blend, it has fruity aromatics and an intensity that could place this wine as from Australia. There’s sweet fruit, herbs and chocolate by way of aroma. The palate is full bodied, with good length and a hot finish. Rating: Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $14. Website: www.chapoutier.com.
Crozes-Hermitage Les Incontournables 2016
This is quite a lovely Crozes-Hermitage release. Less deeply coloured than the Luberon, it has fragrant aromatics of perfume, roses, florals and apricot. The palate is quite primary with some jammy fruit and approachable tannins. This wine is ready to drink now. Rating: Good. Abv: 13%. Price: $28. Website: www.chapoutier.com.
This is a pretty basic Crozes-Hermitage from Chapoutier. The 2014 vintage has aromatics of syrah spices and earth. The palate is medium bodied. The finish is short and lacks complexity of expression. Current drinking only. Rating: Acceptable. Abv: 13%. Price: $27.
The name Chave on a bottle from the northern Rhône is usually a better than ordinary set of odds.
This wine is a medium to pronounced intensity expression of ruby in colour and bright in the glass. On the nose, it has restrained aromatics of spirit, brooding earth, spice and pepper, although its youthfulness is overlayed by a spirit character. On the palate, it is dry with medium acidity, light to medium tannins, medium body and intensity, and flavours of plums, spices, stalks, pepper and medium length. This is a good wine, but is somewhat disjointed I felt initially due to its spirity character. It may be a bit simple for the price (in A$ that is). Acceptable to Good
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For the price, this is one of the best Crozes-Hermitages that I’ve tried. Bright in clarity, with a deeply intense purple colour, this 100% syrah based wine opens to a clean nose with a light to moderate fragrance of white pepper and plums. On the palate, balanced acidity and tannins, with flavours of plums and spices, and reasonable persistence on the finish. For around $30, this is a bargain. The peppery character reminded me ever so slightly of a Craiglee shiraz. 87 to 88 points
This wine from Chapoutier is sourced from Crozes-Hermitage, made from syrah and vinified in cement vats. It is not an expensive wine, and it doesn’t show new world style depth of fruit, but displays good typicity and drinks well. A lightly saturated garnet colour in appearance, on the nose, this wine exhibits cherries, spices, plum skins and crunched up herbs. Lowish acid on the palate is met with medium length, plum skins and herbes de provence. A wine for drinking, and drinking now. I drank this over a lunch, and it disappeared quite quickly. 85 to 86 points.
This wine was tasted in my search for good value Northern Rhone reds. It smells pleasant enough: earth and plums. It has some length on the palate and is generally pleasant, but lacks a bit of stuffing. 84 points.
Would I buy this wine having tasted it? No
This Chapoutier wine from Crozes-Hermitage in the northern Rhone Valley had an aroma of fresh red fruit, herbs and a touch of pepper. The palate was balanced and pleasant. Not an outstanding wine, but the bottle disappeared quickly. 84 points.
Price: around $60 (at restaurant)
100% syrah. An aroma of lavender and light poo. A similar palate. Pleasant drinking. 82 to 83 points.