Crozes-Hermitage Appellation sits on the east bank of the Rhone river surrounding the large granite dome of the Hermitage hill. There are 2600 acres of vineyard spread over a relatively large area. For years Crozes-Hermitage have traded off the name of their illustrious neighbour, Hermitage, with very few growers willing to put the effort in to produce a high quality product. However the 80’s has seen the emergence of a new generation of young producers that have raised the reputation and image of this appellation. Although the wines will never match those of Hermitage, at a third of the price they are an excellent introduction to the fabulous Syrah reds of the Northern Rhone.
Among the emerging producers is Florent Viale of Domaine du Colombier. For years they have supplied wine to the negociant firm Guigal., which makes the small amount of wine produced here very hard to obtain. With 28 acres of vineyards, including 4 acres in Hermitage and very old vines (40 years old for the reds, and 80 – 100 for the whites), this is truly one of the stars of the appellation.
The Crozes-Hermitage is harvested with low yields, around 25hl/hc and aged 70% in barrel. The best are selected for a special cuvée, entitled “Cuvée Gaby”.
-Expression of young Syrah, the ruby colored is a excellent example of this style with a nose of ripe plums and prunes, mulberry, violets and olives. The palate is round and pliant with lots of ripe fruit upfront that slowly stretches to a spicy finish.