Violets and leather : Guigal Crozes-Hermitage AOC

Guigal, Crozes-Hermitage 2009

Region: Crozes-Hermitage, Northern Rhone Valley, France

Grape: 100% Syrah

Price: around 15 euros / $20

crozes hermitage

I couldn’t spend a mo0nth in France and not have some Crozes-Hermitage. It’s one of my two or three go to wines when at a restaurant because, there is always some on the wine list and it’s usually affordable. Another great reason is that it goes really well with most food. Crozes-Hermitage shares half a name with Hermitage, a top-tier other AOC of the Northern Rhone. It was named this way to indicate that, to some critics, wines from this area tasted close to those from Hermitage. Crozes-Hermitage is however a much larger AOC (almost accounting for half of the Northern Rhone region) and its wines sell for way less than those of the Hermitage AOC.

It’s a cheaper but not cheap alternative to Hermitage wines. The same variety rules apply for both appellations, helping reinforce the taste similarities between them. In both AOCs Syrah is the only red grape allowed, winemakers can however use white varieties, Marsanne and/or Roussanne up to 15%,

Picture : Wikipedia Commons

Picture : Wikipedia Commons

Eye: Deep ruby

Nose: Clean, intense nose, violet, plums and prunes with something meatier alongside, leather comes to mind to describe it.

Palate: Dry, medium acidity, medium + body, intense tannins, medium + finish.

Violets and red fruits like plums, candied and dried fruits like prunes with meaty undertones and definitely some oak. The finish is quite long with the wood notes lingering for a while. Tannins are quite present, a little harsh at times. The wine feels balanced but I would mostly have it with food, it’s not a sit around and drink it kind of wine. I felt like it was a good example of what Syrah tastes like, since this Crozes-Hermitage is straight Syrah. The violet tones and meaty side I expected were definitely there, I like it when my expectations are met!

Food pairings: This wine would work with most meats dishes, I had it with a pork cutlet and it was awesome. It will go well with any hearty fare; pizza and pasta come to mind actually.

Overall opinion: A solid, reasonably priced Northern Rhone wine that goes well with a lot of dishes, brings a little sun into a cold winter and displays all characteristics of a “pure” Syrah wine.

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