Wine Review – 2005 Domaine Rousset Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone Valley, France

Winery: Domaine RoussetRousset

Bottling: 2005 Crozes Hermitage (Syrah)

Importer: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant

Region: France

Sub-Region: Crozes-Hermitage, Northern Rhone Valley

Estimated Retail Price: $20

Purchase Details: I can’t remember the exact price, but I think I paid $19.95 for this at Kermit Lynch Wine Merchants in Berkeley, California.

Tasting Notes: Brick, red maroon colors sit in the glass.  Aromas of smoked meat, un-cleaned hibachi grill and plum and spice.  In the mouth, this wine is surprisingly feminine and elegant in texture.  Flavors of smoke, red plum, spice, olive, beef and pepper are framed by minimal, caressing tannins.

This wine is totally unlike the chiseled, hard-edged burly wines I come to expect from Crozes-Hermitage or Hermitage.  It’s like a northern Rhone wine and a Burgundy joined forces and morphed into this Rhone-Gundian amalgamation.

Food Pairing & Context in Which to Enjoy: Grilled and smoked game meats.  Grilled vegetables would be nice here too as well as Mexican cuisine or anything served on a skewer table side at a Brazilian restaurant.

Winery & Other Background Information: I like this wine a lot and here’s why.  There’s not a lot of wine, relative to other well-known appellations, being made and distributed from Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage or the Northern Rhone for that matter; thus making it a challenge to find a cheap, ready to drink bottling from any of these appellations.

When you want to drink affordable Rhone wines, I like most of you, probably reach for a negociant bottled Cotes du Rhone.  With this Rousset Crozes-Hermitage, you get accessibility.  Price, quality, drink-ability and authenticity abound here and you’ll be hard pressed to find any wines from this region that fits the profile I just described.  Yann Chave and Alain Graillot come close, but their bottlings hover in the $25-$30 range.

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