As I have said before, there is another Crozes producer

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.

  • James

    I like the Chapoutier pun. Your reference to Jaboulet invites comment. There is quite some hype about their wines again (2005/6 onwards?) after the very bad post-Gerard patch from 97 onwards. Given that Swiss claret producers are now steering this particular ship, your loyal readers would, I am sure, be intrigued to see (or hear) your unbiased verdict on something like a recent Crozes Thalabert. I wish I had left a bottle of a suitable older vintage to provide the contrast…

  • David Strange

    Indeed, we tried the Jalets and Thalabert 2006 at the wine trade fair this spring. The new labels were horrible. However, the wines themselves were quite up to the standard of Gerard’s day. The Jalets was fun, fresh and fleshy, whilst Thalabert was a serious wine of density and class. It wasn’t short on tits value either.

    I think all you Rhone lovers should make an effort to get some Domaine du Colombier wines. At Maj in Vinopolis they have the quite brilliant ’05 Hermitage for £40 a bottle. Screaming bargain. Leave one for me to buy tomorrow, OK?