Crozes-Hermitage is the Northern Rhone’s largest appellation covering the rolling hills surrounding Hermitage. Most of the wine is red and made exclusively from Syrah though some very good value whites can be found from the Marsanne and Roussanne grape varieties. Curiously, there are only a small band of high quality producers taking advantage of this appellation, among the best would be Graillot, Pochon, Domaine du Colombier and Belle. Paul Jaboulet and the co-operative Cave de Tain dominate much of the land. The reds are lighter than those of Hermitage and softer than those from the vineyards planted across the river in St. Joseph. Here the rich clay limestone soils are less acidic than those of the granite slopes further west, the best wines that result are usually dark, rich, spicy, sturdy wines with reasonably round, pliable textures.
Until the 1988 harvest, all the production of the Pochon family estate (which included Domaine Pochon and Chateau Curson), was sold to the local cooperative. Over the following years, as the contracts expired, they slowly reclaimed the production from their 8.5 hectares of vines and began making and bottling profound Crozes-Hermitage, both red and white. With vineyards on the hills rather than down on the plain, yields are lower and the concentration in the wines far greater than in many Crozes. While the Chateau Curson wines are barrel aged and require patience, the Domaine Pochon wines see no oak and fruit-laden and fresh, designed for early consumption.
Etienne Pochon crafts very elegant and surprisingly long-lived Crozes that should be typical of the appellation. Unfortunately, there are many growers with extensive plantings on the plains who do not possess such a burning desire for quality and therefore often produce very lacklustre, soupy wines. Etienne vinifies plot by plot from hillside sites, the best of which are separated for some ageing in oak barriques; these are the red and white Chateau Curson wines. The white is a Marsanne/Roussanne blend full of sophisticated almond, dairy and stone fruit flavours that is at its best for three or four years.
On offer this week is the 2013 Chateau Curson Crozes-Hermitage Blanc. Etienne Pochon is a painfully shy individual but outwardly proud of his small, well organized, grape-growing and winemaking operation. During our visit in October 2015 my wife and I discovered an unpicked bunch of Marsanne still hanging on the vine while we walked through the vineyard. Etienne removed the bunch and my wife and I enjoyed it with our picnic lunch (as well as a bottle of his delicious wine!)
The 2013 Chateau Curson Crozes-Hermitage Blanc is available for immediate delivery. We only have 20 cases of this very rare gem available. This is the perfect wine to savour on a lazy summer Sunday afternoon in the garden, along with a slice of pate and a french stick! To order please e-mail or call 416-463-4677.
2013 Chateau Curson Crozes-Hermitage Blanc
Light gold in the glass with an enticing nose of buttered almond, toasted vanilla, apricot and peach, further complexed with mineral and floral notes. In the mouth the wine is medium to full-bodied with a generous and lush mouthfeel leading to a long, clean, crisp finish.
Drink: Now – 2017
Food Pairing: Asian fusion; curry; spicy chicken; fish
The Small Winemakers Collection is a Toronto-based Ontario wine agent. We supply wine to restaurants and private consumers across the province. Most of our wines are sold through the Consignment program of the LCBO’s Specialty Services department.