The Robin family were growers in Crozes-Hermitage for generations but were selling the harvest to a local co-cop until 1995. With 15 hectare to exploit and some mature plots at that the family was in a good position to start making their own wines. Crozes-Hermitage is their main production but they also source some Saint Joseph and Hermitage too. A modern maker with nods to the old school (hand picking, organic growing) his wines are pretty taut and firm with some serious complexity in there too.
Cuvée Alberic Bouvet is named for Gilles grandfather. It is a blend of the old vine fruit from this main terroirs of Rochas, Monico and Terres Rouges. Each plot brings a different expression of Syrah and therefore adds layers to this wine. Fermentation in 80 hl vats and a full immersed cap allows for a lot of extraction. Aging in mostly old oak and a bit of fining helps to soften the wine but this tastes like a wine built for the long haul. Plus it is a Crozes, therefore will be a leaner, more precise wine than Hermitage or Saint Joseph. Deeply coloured crimson to the rim. Spicey, pepper, flint, smoke, peat, undergrowth, blackberries, red liquorice, brown spices, coffee. Ripe red and blueberries hit your tongue first. Lean acid and gritty tannins follow. Tobacco, baked earth, coffee, a slight rancio note and much more follow. This is still young, especially from magnum. Give it until 2025 at least to show its best. Alberic will be best with game dishes, venison in particular, lamb would be nice, or try it with old comte.
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 offer great quality and even better value.
A bit of a chameleon, Shiraz can change how it looks depending on terroir and/or wine maker 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.