A smoking Crozes Hermitage, the 2012 Crozes Hermitage les Varonniers sports a vibrant purple color to go with notes of black cherries, bouquet garni and ground pepper. Medium to full-bodied, soft, fleshy and beautifully textured, is has enough underlying tannin to keep it drinking nicely through 2022 or so. It's worth noting that at a recent 2003 retrospective, this was firing on all cylinders and bested more than a few more expensive Hermitage.
92 points, Jeb Dunnuck (December 2014)
Vivid ruby. Highly aromatic cherry and red berry scents are complicated by licorice, Indian spices and cola. Deeply concentrated dark fruit flavors show a suave blend of sweet and tangy, with a mineral nuance adding lift. Gains weight and sweetness on the clinging finish, which features a cherry-cola quality and fine-grained tannins that come on late.
M. Chapoutier is a renowned producer in the northern Rhône valley, producing a diverse array of benchmark wines from the region’s most prestigious appellations. The Chapoutier family has roots in the region dating from 1808; however it is under the current leadership of winemaker Michel Chapoutier that quality at the estate has soared. Since taking over the family firm, Michel Chapoutier has overseen the dramatic transformation of the estate’s vineyards to biodynamic practices. Winemaking philosophy has also changed significantly with a more sensitive oak regime now in place to allow the wine’s character to show through. The wines are also bottled unfined and unfiltered. M.Chapoutier is famous both for the "téte de cuvées" wines from old vine vineyards including La Mordorée and Hermitage La Pavillon and its range of rare Sélections Parcellaires; celebrated single-vineyard wines from the Northern Rhone’s most site, the Hill of Hermitage.