E. Guigal

Hermitage Blanc 2016

Hermitage

Whites make up a small percentage of production in the Rhône, under 2%, but white wines are a little bit of a secret specialty at Guigal and today comprise 25% of their production. And for good reason, as the whites of the Northern Rhône are true discovery wines, immensely appealing and complex. They specifically display an expressiveness and brightness while also capturing the warmth of the area. Explosive and exotic floral and fruit aromas and flavors meld with intense mineral notes, and the silky, powerful concentration of flavors has an appealing roundness that finishes remarkably fresh.

Hermitage is one of France’s most spectacular and famous appellations, but Hermitage Blanc is one of the least-known yet most intriguing wines of the Rhône Valley. Composed primarily of Marsanne (95%) and small amounts of Roussanne (5%), it is relatively rare, accounting for only a small percentage of the production of the 309 acre Hermitage AOC.

VINEYARD

This is a rare wine, accounting for only a small percentage of the production of the 309 acre Hermitage AOC. The Marsanne (95%) Roussanne (5%) fruit is harvested from old vines between 30-90 years of age. Various blocks are planted on granite limestone, clay loam and sandy gravel topsoils on the famous granite mother rock, which yields wine of tremendous structure.

Yields are under 2.3 tons per acre, requiring extremely judicious farming.

WINEMAKING

Temperature controlled fermentation, between 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, the wine ages for 24 months in second year barrels.

VINTAGE

Following the spectacular 2015 vintage in the Northern Rhone, the 2016 is another excellent vintage, though the path was not nearly as straightforward as in 2015. The spring was cool and wet and the vintage looking very late and complicated. Hot weather in July and no rain until September meant that vines were stressed from the other direction. A little bit of rain was needed at the end of September, and then a huge bit of luck to have good weather through October. That’s exactly what happened. The resulting wines have concentration with a lot of freshness, and an uncommon openness given the intensity of both these factors. We anticipate 2015/2016 to be a battle of quality and differing styles to be played out over many years.

TASTING NOTE

The wine evolves in a remarkable fashion, tasting vibrant and rich with notes of spice just after bottling, developing a softer, rounder character after a few years, and returning with renewed freshness and much greater complexity after 10 or 15 years in the cellar. There is an unmistakable minerality on the palate, and a stacked-mid palate that lingers.

Color

White

Grape Varieties

Marsanne, Roussanne

Appellation

Hermitage

Suggested Retail Price

$72

Trade Materials

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