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Finally, a new shipment has arrived from Stéphane Rousset in Crozes-Hermitage, who produces authentic wines of terroir from hillside vineyards, predominantly granite, that give the true flavors of the Northern Rhône at affordable prices. The Rousset vineyards, mostly in Gervans and Erôme in the northern sector of Crozes, produce wines similar to Hermitage and the central zone of Saint-Joseph - we're proud to have them back in the store!
The 2021 vintage comes after 3 years of hot, dry conditions that produced rather full-bodied wines with high levels of alcohol - some of them brilliant, but often more expressive of fruit than of terroir. 2021 is a pre-global warming vintage with cooler temperatures - "a vintage with some lovely things" says drinkrhone "and a higher level of aromatics than the sun-baked years, and potentially good access to the true terroir in the wines."
The Rousset 2021 Crozes "Les Picaudières" and 2021 Saint-Joseph are classic examples of Northern Rhone Syrah that will drink at their best at 5 to 15 years of age. A 2012 "Picaudières" recently opened was drinking perfectly with superb old-fashioned Syrah aromatics and a complex, velvety and mineral palate. We expect the 2021 to delvelop in a similar fashion. The Crozes-Hermitage Rouge will be a very satisfying Syrah fix over the next 5 to 8 years.
2021 is an excellent vintage for whites from the Northern Rhone - the 2021 Rousset Crozes-Hermitage Marsanne Vieilles Vignes is an extraordinary wine, coming from 65 to 85 year old vines in high altitude parcels in Erome. The wine shows elegant aromas of white peach and plum, lemon zest, stone and oak; the palate is beautifully structured with the density, mineral flavors and firm acidity of the low yielding 2021 vintage.
Stephane Rousset's Croze-Hermitage "Les Picaudières" is certainly one of the finest wines of Crozes-Hermitage, and is one of the greatest values in the Northern Rhône. This isolated steep vineyard of granite terraces is a carbon copy of the Hermitage hill a few miles to the south, and the wine it produces ages beautifully, becoming the magical Syrah that we love from the region's most traditional estates.
The family goes back eleven generations in Erome - Stéphane's great uncle was the legendary Raymond Roure, from whom the Roussets purchased the "Picaudières" vineyard in Gervans. Talk of terroir in Crozes-Hermitage often turns to the difference between the granite hills of Serves, Gervans and Erome in the north of the appellation (with smaller outcroppings in Larnage and Crôzes) and the deeper soils in the plains of the central and southern region. The producers in the plains "excel in the nearest the northern Rhône comes to a new-world style" while the steep granite slopes of the northern villages produce leaner, age-worthy wines "a situation nearly identical to that of Hermitage with it's southward-facing hillsides and generally granite soils." The Roussets own one-half of "Les Picaudières," with terraces cut out of the granite and a high percentage of old vines, planted in high density, dating back to the 1930s. (Quotes from drinkrhone.com)
Wines are in stock, please allow until 5/19 for pick-up or shippng. 10% case/mixed case discount applies.
Rousset 2021 Crôzes-Hermitage Marsanne Vieilles Vignes
This is an oustanding Marsanne from vines planted in 1933 and 1965, aged in 10% new, 90% 1 - 3 year-old 400 liter barrels, 8 months on the lees, no batonnage. The 2021 Vieilles Vignes is an outstanding wine showing elegant aromas of white peach and plum, lemon zest, stone and oak; the palate is beautifully structured with the density, mineral flavors and firm acidity of the low yielding 2021 vintage. The finish is lovely with stone, white and yellow fruits, citrus zest, long and very elegant, really showing the old vines. Open well in advance or cellar 3 to 5 years, allowing the oak to fully integrate, then enjoy until 2035. (About 80 cases made) Pair this beautiful wine with full-flavored fish and chicken dishes and goat cheeses, or as the Roussets suggest, with rock fish, veal marengo and mushroom risotto! David Lillie
From hillside vineyards in Erome, Gervans and Crozes, mostly granite with some limestone/clay, average age 45 years, aged 30% in vat rather than wood in 2021 to preserve the fruit. This is no "ordinary" Crôzes-Hermitage, but a real wine of terroir from great vineyard sites, all on hillsides. Domaine Rousset is blessed with excellent terroir and the good sense to get that into the bottle with as little interference as possible. Redolent with black cherries, plums, wet earth and stony minerality, the palate follows through with dark chocolate covered cherries, blackberries and tobacco leaf with bracing acidity and a long finish. This is lovely stuff and positively sings in concert with a plate of poulet aux olives, but a bit of saucisson or terrine wouldn’t suffer for this; and come to think of it, if you have a wild mushroom pasta recipe tucked away, this pretty Crôzes would offer good company indeed.
Rousset 2021 Crôzes-Hermitage Les Picaudières
Les Picaudières is perhaps the best vineyard in Crôzes-Hermitage, formerly owned by Raymond Roure and now tended by Stéphane Rousset. It's a steep slope of granite terraces, isolated in an oak forest facing due south and protected from the wind. (In the opinion of Livingston-Learmonth in "Wines of the Northern Rhône" wine from Les Picaudières is "certainly better" than many Hermitage from the eastern part of the hill.) The vines range from 20 to 80 years-old. The grapes are hand-harvested and mostly de-stemmed. The wine ages 16 months, 40% in foudre, 60% in burgundy barrels, 1 to 5 year-old. (no newer oak for the 2021) In the Northern Rhône, this ranks near the top for bang for your buck, and for terroir expression. The 2021 shows a medium-dark red/garnet color with vivid aromas of black cherry and blackberry with violet, citrus, blueberry and game. The palate shows nice weight and density but remains bright and balanced at 13% alcohol with a core of earth and mineral flavors blending with the fruit - black cherry, blackberry, boysenberry. There is darker fruit with floral notes in the finish, ending with all earth and minerals. Classy and delicious now, but it should be really singing in ten years - as was a 2012 we drank last year. Serve very slightly cool and enjoy! David Lillie
The 2021 Rousset Saint-Joseph is from a one-half hectare parcel of 35 to 70 year-old vines in "Les Rivoires" on the lower slope in Tournon, a cool, very steep, late-ripening terroir with clay, sand and stones over firm granite. Aged 12 months, 30% foudre, 70% 1 to 5 year-old barrels.This is prime Saint-Joseph terroir (the Gonons have vines in "Rivoires" as well) giving a dense well-structured wine that is enjoyable young, as most of the grapes are de-stemmed, and that will drink well over the next ten+ years. The 2021 vintage has produced a brighter more floral style than the 2020, with a nicely balanced 13% alcohol. We love the review in drinkrhone: "quite a dark red; this has a country style aroma, wild blackberry, licorice, black pepper, is genuine. The palate gives a cool stream of black cherry fruit, is tasty and natural, with appealing purity, feels hand made, and is silky, elegant on the finish. It’s very fine, very bonny, aromatic St Jo, the balance good - most joli it is." Yes, most joli it is - quite delicious now, but put a few away to drink in 8 to 10 years as well. David Lillie