All of us Northern Rhone old hands will think of Jaboulet or Graillot when it comes to Crozes-Hermitage (Chapoutier are crap, obviously): these days we should also think of Domaine du Colombier. His wines are very expressive and merit serious consideration.
Crozes-Hermitage ‘Cuvee Gaby’ 2007, Domaine du Colombier
The nose is quite unfeasibly peppery, both the green (bell) and ground kinds. It is very earthy. As I suggested with the 05 Hermitage recently, Colombier wines tend toward the reductive when young, and this has hints of that beetrooty character. There is plenty of fruit, though, and it is a really earthy, mineral bugger. With a bit of a swirl in your glass this shows itself to be really expressive and complex, a classy Crozes alright. The palate has dark fruit and pepper, with good, ripe tannins and a sophisticated earthiness. This is one of the most buttock-bitingly delicious Crozes I’ve had in a while: complex, interesting and with bags of character. Lovely now, especially with serious decanting action, but probably best in 5-7 years or so.
As an aside, I am really taken with Domaine du Colombier wines in recent years. The basic Crozes is a fun drink, Cuvee Gaby is a properly serious, age-worthy Crozes of class and distinction and the Hermitage is throbbingly intense and stylish. These are the kind of Northern Rhone wines we want to drink, and they are not too expensive either.