M. Chapoutier Crozes Hermitage Varonniers, Rhône, France, 2016 (BIODYNAMIC)
Overview of the Wine
No name is more closely associated with the greatness of the Rhone valley than M. Chapoutier.
The history of the Chapoutier family stretches back to the early nineteenth century when current owner Michel Chapoutier’s great-, great-, great-grandfather Marius purchased an estate and some vineyards in the now famous village of Tain l’Hermitage in the Northern Rhône Valley. Marius Chapoutier made history in the region when he became the first grape grower there to vinify his own fruit. Marius had tasted wines other winemakers produced using his fruit and he realized that something was lost in translation, so to speak. He knew that he owned some of the best growing sites in the appellation and he believed — rightly — that the grapes grown in his vineyards could produce long-lived world-class wines. In a move unusual at the time, he decided that he should make the wine himself. Not only did the quality of the wines increase greatly, but this move provided the capital to expand the Chapoutiers’ already legendary estate.
A visionary and pioneer in biodynamic winemaking, his restless energy and unconditional commitment to quality have produced tremendous success, with the most 90+ point ratings of all Rhône producers and 16 "100 point" rated wines.
Grape / Blend
96 - Jeb Dunnuck
On another level, the inky colored 2016 Crozes-Ermitage Les Varonniers comes from the granite hillside just beside Hermitage hill and is more Hermitage than Crozes. It has a huge nose of currants, smoked earth, graphite, pepper, and cured meats. This carries to a rich, powerful Crozes that has a real sense of minerality, beautiful mid-palate depth, ripe, present tannins, and a great, great finish. Aged 18 months in 20% new French oak (a mix of Burgundy barrels and demi-muids), it has two decades or more of longevity ahead of it.
94 -Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Grown on the western-facing portion of the Hermitage hill, on the same underlying granite as les Bessards, the 2016 Crozes Hermitage les Varonniers makes a mockery of most Crozes-Hermitages, coming across more like Hermitage itself. Aged in a mix of barriques and demi-muids, it frames cassis fruit with hints of pencil shavings and crushed stone. Full-bodied and concentrated, it shows granite-like reserve in its powerful expression and long, dusty finish.