Your Wine IQ

Crozes-Hermitage


Wine By Region Right Europe Right France Right Rhône Right Northern Rhône Right Crozes-Hermitage


Crozes-Hermitage is a satellite of the great Hermitage appellation. Both red and white wines are made; the reds are made from Syrah, while the whites are blended Marsanne and Roussanne. Crozes-Hermitage is a rather large appellation, in fact the largest in the northern Rhône. A total of 11 villages make up the appellation, so there are over 3,000 acres planted under vine, which is more than half of the northern Rhône's total acreage. These acres yield 750,000 cases of wine annually from the vineyards. About 90% of these wines are red.

As a result of perceived overproduction, Crozes-Hermitage is having a serious problem with its reputation; many people are now treating it as a workhorse appellation. There is some truth to this; due to overproduction, there are many low-quality wines. However, critics of the appellation tend to overlook the many great wines, which are certainly capable of brushing shoulders with Hermitage in good vintages.

History

Crozes-Hermitage is not as historical a region as its namesake, but it was one of the first regions in the Rhône to receive AOC status (in 1937).

Climate and Viticulture

All the appellations of the northern Rhône are quite similar in climate, but Crozes-Hermitage's size is a drawback. There are some rocky soils that cultivate poor wine. Generally, though, the soil is made up of thick, drainable sandy clay, with some pebbles.

Grape Varieties

In Crozes-Hermitage, main red grape Syrah makes very potent wines that are full of black fruit and pepper flavors, although they lack the finesse and refinement of the best Hermitages and also the brute power of the best Côte-Rôties. They should be drunk early, when they will generally provide pleasant, balanced flavors.

Marsanne and Roussanne are allowed to together make up 15% of the reds. Although they add a decent floral element to the reds, they are better off together in their own white wines, which are quite powerfully flavored.

Major Producers

There are many good producers in the Crozes-Hermitage appellation, but we seek to isolate the great ones. Five of these are listed below.

Subregions

Crozes-Hermitage, despite its size, has no subappellations.