Hermitage is traditionally the manliest wine in France and, as The Editor and I are at least nominally men (superannuated toddlers, more like!) we thought it would make appropriate drinking for lunch. No food, you see? This is extreme dieting. One sniff of this shows it to be deeply pulsingly manly, so much so I wonder where it’ll make hairs grow on me. This is a wine for heroes and I bleeding well feel like a hero at the moment; wouldn’t you if you had achieved what I have?
When I’ve opened Colombier for people in the past some unenlightened minds have whined that they are not the ‘classic’, elegant wines that Chave and Jaboulet used to produce. This gripe is irrelevant firstly because neither are Chave or Jaboulet these days (Jaboulet is simply crap), but mostly because if there is a classic style of Hermitage, this is it. Manly, as I said in the first paragraph – manly doesn’t do 3D decoupage, it wipes its boots on the bed, eats raw steak and shags with unthinking enthusiasm if it gets half a chance. Now that may not be a terribly popular style in the circles I move in, but it is what Hermitage is and when it is done as well as with this homme you quite enjoy the sex.
Hermitage 2008, Domaine Colombier
Wow! Power and density on the nose! The rich, earthy fruit is almost thick, there’s so much to it. Luckily, the alcohol level is perfectly fine and that earthiness is almost as sophisticated as the complexity of the fruit characters. But it’s a man’s wine, judging from this nose, it wears a lumberjack shirt with its pink cords with ducks on. I love it! Most Australian winemakers should be repeatedly hit on the head with this bottle until they learn how to do ‘big’ with style and panache.
The palate is almost as big as the nose; it throbs with vivacious energy. The fruit is richly ripe and dense, yet no hint of straying toward over-ripe, jammy or soupy. That fruit also displays the profound subtlety of a man who knows how to hug and cry at the appropriate moments. Rich with earth flavours too. Yummy, what a cracker. The tannic structure is butch enough to need shaving, but not so tough your palate needs shaving after drinking some. There’s great, thrilling acidity to it as well.
All tied up in brilliantly powerful equilibrium; this is a wine with a long-gloriously shag-tastic future ahead of it, but what a treat to get ravaged by it today. I’ve long claimed that, in recent years, Domaine Colombier should be your first port of call for quality Hermitage and this demonstrates that girthily. It’s quite reasonably priced as well – result!
Lay and Wheeler sell this and if you don’t go and buy some after reading this note you must be some kind of poof or something. Leave some for me, though; I want more and, probably because I am some kind of poof, I find it hard to turn down as handsome an example of masculinity as this.