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Rousset, Stephane 2021 Crozes-Hermitage "Les Picaudieres"

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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

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Rousset, Stephane 2021 Crozes-Hermitage "Les Picaudieres"
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