Type: Crozes-Ermitage Les Varonniers
Grape Variety Used: 100% Syrah
Alcohol Level: 13%
Length/Type of Fermentation: Hand harvested. Vinification in small, closed concrete vats. Fermentation is very long and lasts about 5 weeks.
Length/Type of Aging: 100% of this wine is matured in oak casks for 14 to 18 months
Unlike Burgundy and Bordeaux, the Rhône does not have an official cru (vineyard) classification system. There are, however, lieux-dits, “named places” or place names that denote vineyard sites and plots within each appellation. Chapoutier owns some of the most famous plots in the Rhône, including 34 hectares within the tiny Hermitage appellation. This collection of highly sought after wines is coined “Selections Parcellaires”. These exceptional wines are created organically and biodinamically and imported to the United States once per year.
The small 2.55 hectare block of Syrah planted here on the west-facing, mistral-stripped side of Hermitage Hill, could well be one of the sweetest anomalies in the wine world. Its soil types, much more like Hermitage than the more rolling and often flat plantings of the broad swath of the surrounding Crozes, give it a distinction much like that of Hermitage. This plot, known as Varognes, historically and officially recognized as a “lieu-dit,” is blended with wine from old Syrah vines in the Les Meysonniers site in southern Crozes-Hermitage. Only 500 cases are produced annually of this cuvée, Les Varonniers, whose name results from the contraction of the two vineyard sites from which its grapes originate.