Jancis Robinson tells us, in her excellent book Vines, Grapes and Wines: The Wine Drinker’s Guide to Grape Varieties, that the grape from which this is made, Marsanne, smells not unpleasantly like glue. This wine certainly has that character and it is true I am not repelled by this odd set of aromas.
White Hermitage and white Crozes are rare beasts, compared to the well-known red wines hardly anyone has heard of them let alone tried them. I have to admit to never trying to age white Crozes, but its more senior relation can provide real interest when given a decade or so in the cellar. The white Hermitage to keep your eyes peeled for is from Jean Louis Grippat; he sold out to Guigal in the mid-nineties so his stuff is super-rare but well worth a punt should you see any. [link2post id=”1126″]My last taste of his wine was the mind-bogglingly obscure Vin de Paille[/link2post], a sweet wine made from straw-dried grapes, which was very odd but rather tasty.[image image_id=”3268″ align=”left”]
Crozes-Hermitage Blanc ‘Cuvee Gaby’ 2006, Domaine du Colombier
Yeah, this is a white Crozes alright: strange Airfix kit glue and acetone aromas. It really isn’t obviously fruity, nor does it provide much in the way of familiar characters for a modern wine taster to easily recognise. I suppose clues for the struggling blind taster, beyond the solvent aromas, would be its that it smells rather broad and has extremely subtle white fruit aromas, which could be apple, pear, peach or a fruit-cocktail melange of the three; they are so subdued I’ll leave it up to you to decide exactly what they are. I’m rather surprised by the moderately high acid levels on the palate. Given white Crozes reputatuion for being blowsy and fat this is distinctly prickly; a good thing, I feel. There are more of those glue flavours here as well, and a similarly vanishing background level of white fruit. I realise I am not selling this as a great drinking experience, but I rather like it. It has vivacity, real personality and engages my faculties as a taster. You could drink this as a refreshing white wine with scallops or similarly rich seafood dishes, but I feel it would perform best as an afternoon drink for those who wish to be challenged rather than bored by what they drink; there is a lot here to think about and it delivers those goods at a very reasonable price-point.
The other white Crozes which I feel safe recommending in a similar ‘interesting but weird drink’-idiom comes from the great Alain Graillot. Do look for the most recent vintage on the market, though. If anyone has any experience of the white Crozes produced under the new regime at Jaboulet then please post a comment.