Hello friends. Last February, we grabbed as much wine from Domaine du Colombier as possible. It wasn’t enough. I believe we limited order requests to 4 bottles of Crozes Hermitage and 2 bottles of Hermitage, and our actual max allocations ended up being 2 Crozes/1 Herm. The new vintages of Colombier just landed in Seattle, so we’re turning this offer around as quickly as possible in hopes of avoiding last year’s allocation bloodbath.
Up until last year, it had been several years since these lovely wines had been in the Seattle market. Colombier was founded in 1929, and for most of their existence sold their fruit to negociants. Their biggest customer was none other than Guigal. Then in 1992, the family decided to begin estate-bottling their own wines, and since then, they’ve risen to become one of the great under-the-radar estates of the region.
Well, mostly under the radar. Here’s Robert Parker himself introducing the estate in late 2012: Wine Advocate (Robert Parker): “[TEXT WITHHELD].”
As you can see on the map, Crozes-Hermitage is an area in the crook of the neck made by the confluence of the Rhone and Isere rivers. While up to 15% Marsanne and Roussanne are allowed in red Crozes, this is 100% Syrah, done whole-cluster and foot-stomped, and given long, cool fermentations. The result is a smoky, earthy, meaty marvel. This is a Syrah with plenty of funky character, with aromas somewhere between peat and roasting marrow bones. It’s a total palate-stainer, with loads of complexity and expressiveness. The insistent saltiness on the palate is wonderful, and the structure here (mostly bright acidity, but some sneaky tannin as well) suggests a wine that is only going to improve in bottle. Like last year, the woodsmoke elements suggest new oak, but this is done almost entirely in concrete and big old demi-muids, so I think it’s actually just autumnal varietal character.
Our parcel of this is only slightly larger than last year, and I expect we’ll only have one shot at this wine.
Hermitage is one of the true beating hearts of Syrah in the world. A tiny AOC (345 acres) contained on a single hill (location here), it produces wines that are as difficult to source as they are hauntingly beautiful.
The speed of the go/no-go decision precluded me from tasting this vintage, but last year’s was fantastic, and this vintage already has an excellent review from Wine Advocate:
Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”
Since we’re getting in a touch earlier this year, I’m going to up the max order requests slightly, but allocations still may fall below these limits. Please limit order requests to 6 bottles of Crozes and 3 bottles of Hermitage, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.