Hauts Chassis Les Galets 2017 is a wine to enjoy. While the 2016s are to keep for the LONG term. The 2017s benefit from the warmer year and offer immediate appeal. In my trip to the Rhone this year (2019) we tasted many, many beautiful 2017s. 2017s are inviting and fruit-forward. Hauts Chassis Les Galets is still a wine of great breeding and will evolve over the short to medium term. Maybe longer. But at the same time, it is nice to have something to drink now(ish) too.
Domaine des Hauts Chassis is in the south of the Crozes-Hermitage appellation. The estate is 17 hectares spread across Crozes, Condrieu, Hermitage, St Peray and St Joseph. I’ve only tried through their red Crozes wines, but they are remarkable. From affable through to serious vin de garde.
One of the great wine regions in the world. Situated along the Rhone river in South-East France. There is a distinct divide between the Syrah dominant North where the Mistral wind cools and regulates the temperature and the hot lands in the South where Grenache is at its peak. The region produces everything from easy-going quaffers to wines that demand long-term cellaring. Whites can be outstanding such as Viognier made in Condrieu and Rosé makes a fair impression too.
Not instantly as recognisable or as loved as fellow Northern Rhone appellations like Cote Rotie, Saint Joseph or Hermitage. But as John Livingstone-Learmonth says “terroir is alive and well at Crozes-Hermitage!”. A huge variation in geology, as well as grower outlook, means the wines are anything from lean, mineral and taut to Barossa style Syrah. There is a handful of fantastic quality wines that rival anything in the Rhone. The next tier down offers great quality and even better value.
A bit of a chameleon, Shiraz can change how it looks depending on the terroir and/or winemaker influence. The Syrah-based wines of Northern Rhone are dry and austere while the Shiraz of Barossa is rich and fleshy. A variety that lends itself to long aging but can be drunk at any time of its evolution.