Etienne Pochon is the refined, slightly reserved owner of this 14.5ha (hectare) domaine in the eastern end of Crozes. He left the Cooperative de Tain in 1988, and stepped up his commitment to natural vineyard methods in the 1990s. He used to sell his grapes to one of the local co-operatives, but now makes his own wines from better-than-average fruit. Pochon oversees all elements of production, ensuring that the wine shows all the soft, fragrant plentiful fruit that has gone into it and this ripe and fruity wine shows he was right to go it alone. Etienne Pochon cares most about the quality of the fruit that he picks and this is quite evident in his vibrantly fruity and deceptively uncomplicated reds. Crozes-Hermitage is now the largest appellation in the northern Rhône and, because quantities are relatively large, it also produces the best-value wines. Like its big brother, Hermitage, red Crozes is made entirely from the syrah grape. In style, the wines of Crozes-Hermitage share a lot in common with Hermitage, particularly in the finesse and the fruitiness, though rarely in the concentration and power.
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