Les Picaudières is perhaps the best vineyard in Crozes-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 are planted in high-density and range from 40 to 85 years-old. The grapes are hand-harvested and mostly de-stemmed. The wine ages 16 months, 60% in burgundy barrels (5% new) and 40% in cuve inox or resin, 250 cases were made. The 2017 shows a deep red/black color with elegant aromas of blackberry and blueberry, cherry liqueur, licorice, bitter chocolate, black olive, musk and menthol. The palate shows bright berry liqueurs with deeper earthy black fruits , black pepper, cocoa, licorice, rose petal and mineral flavors, supple and ripe but with firm tannins and a grainy texture. A long saline finish of black fruits, a bit of tar and firm acidity. This is a real Syrah of granite terroir that can be enjoyed young, especially with grilled foods, but best to wait five to ten years and drink until 2035 and beyond. This is the real deal and is highly recommended. David Lillie
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