Saturday Tasting: Sidekick becomes Superhero

What happens, when the sidekick becomes just as exciting as the hero of the movie himself? What happens when all of a sudden Robin is a little bit more exciting than the bloke in the bat costume? Nowadays you see more and more of this occuring in the world of wine. Regions that were considered to be sidekicks for decades some even for centuries, are becoming the most exciting places on the map…

What can you tell me about Crozes Hermitages? Is it that it’s next to Hermitages, the most important apellation of the Northern Rhone? That’s not too exciting, is it? What about Gigondas? Is that they make almost as good wine as they make in Chateauneuf du Pape? I’ve heard better marketing for sure.

If these secondary points of difference doesn’t wash with you then it probably hasn’t washed with the winemakers of these regions either. What if the winemakers of this apellation had enough of being almost famous and decided to do something about it? We have a couple of good examples to prove our point. Take our Gigondas for example. Is it full of beautiful red fruits? Yep. Is it robust? Uh huh. Do you mind if it’s not a Chateauneuf? Nope. You don’t mind because you went for this Gigondas for it’s own unique specialness.

For quite a while Crozes Hermitages was just referred to as “the hills surrounding the real thing”. The local producers had enough of this, and began to develop their own style  – regardless of what the big and well established folks are doing in the Hermitage. This has resulted in stunning wines, like the Crozes range of the Cave de Clairmont.

Cave de Clairmont make their iconic reds out of 100% Syrah. This isn’t rebel wine-making. That is the local tradition. The variety was introduced to this terroir way before the Romans appeared, and, let’s admit it- has conquered the world ever since. The Clairmont’s Crozes Syrah is massive, robust, and in terms of aromas it feels like you are just entering into an Arabian spice vendor’s emporium. A rich blend of different peppers, cumin, fennel, and cardamom blend nicely with the fruit.

In terms of white wine, the good vignerons of Clairmont are a bit of an irregular bunch. Normally Viognier would be the main varietal in the Northern Rhone. Yet this bunch use Marsanne, a grape normally used sparingly in blending, exclusively. Thanks to this, the wine is a lot more floral and fresh fruit driven.

Not entirely sure about you Rhone knowledge? Come and have a taste today, to get to know the superb Crozes Hermitages on it’s own merits.

Borough Market Saturday Tasting

Cave de Clairmont

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