lunes, 22 de julio de 2013

Domaine Chapoutier (Hermitage - Côtes du Rhône - France)


Chapoutier, is family-owned merchant-grower based at Tain-l'Hermitage in France’s northern Rhône. One of the Rhone valley's great names, established in 1808 and owning some 230 ha/560 acres of vineyard, principally in the northern Rhone and notably 32 ha of Hermitage. More recent purchases have been made in Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, Banyuls, and 100 ha/247 acres in South Australia.

The house used to be particularly well known for its white Hermitage, Chante Alouette, and for its Grande Cuvée wines, high-quality blends of one appellation but more than one vintage. During the 1980s, however, when Chapoutier´s peers (Guigal and Jaboulet, for example) and numerous small growers were catching the imagination of the wine world with the improving quality of their wines, Chapoutier wines stood out precisely because they seemed unexceptional by comparison. This situation (changed dramatically when Max Chapoutier's sons Marc and Michel took over the running of the company full time in 1990. Michel now runs the company with a passion.

All wines are now vintage dated, and great attention is paid to detail at every stage from vineyard management to bottling. The dynamic new image was briefly dented by highly publicized bottle variation in the 1993 Hermitage La Sizeranne, due to several bottlings at different dates. As a result, this practice, a hangover from the old regime, was discontinued in 1995.

Viticulture is biodynamic, so that Michel Chapoutier now farms the largest area of biodynamic vineyard in the world, yields are low, the wines are aged in oak (new as appropriate) rather than old chestnut barrels, and the top reds are subjected to neither fining nor filtration. As a result, the wines have more concentration, polish, and distinction, and Chapoutier’s Hermitage, côte rôtie, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape can compere with the very best from the region. In 1996, the firm became the first wine producer to have labels in Braille.

The words that best describe Maison M. Chapoutier. An Estate that nurtures its vineyards with the greatest respect for natural balance and terroir since 1808. The family motto “Fac et Spera” – do and hope – says it all. Two words that sum up all the patience and daring that this art demands: patience in relation to nature which presides; daring for the winemaker, who observes, chooses and assists. The wine will be the faithful expression of this alchemy.


Respect for the terroir:
- What is terroir? It is the meeting of soil, climate and weather – that will shape the vintage- and of traditional savoir-faire. So, in a certain way each appellation (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) is made up of a terroir or a multitude of terroirs.
- A combination of soil (pedology and geology), climate (microclimate and vintage), and human talent (provided by people and tradition).
- It also means paying attention to each plot, listening to the world, the environment, anticipating the needs of the earth.
- Respect for the fruit, the grape. Maison M. Chapoutier is one of the few Rhône valley winery to have a team specifically dedicated with “accompanying the wine-harvest”.
- This is a new vinegrowing skill in order to provide guidance and support on farming methods for Maison M. Chapoutier when it is acting as a merchant for the grapes.
- Respect for the consumer whether they are wine connoisseurs or not. Maison M. Chapoutier crafts its regional wines with the same dedication given to the most prestigious bottles, investing just as much faith.
- The aim is always to convey the same love of wine, to give complete beginners a chance to discover its diversity.

- Being audacious means keeping an open mind, embracing new horizons, other localities, other organic winegrowing methods. Being audacious means combining tradition and modernity, making it possible for them to join forces and engender new know-how and craft.

Conviviality and Generosity:
- Anyone who creates wines must be generous and festive. Without such qualities the creative act is doomed, sterile and vain.
- Conviviality and generosity are a form of self-expression, an incentive and stimulant, enhancing and encouraging, much as a wine contributes its richness to the dish it accompanies. One with the other, one for the other.
- The matching of food and wine is central to Michel Chapoutier’s whole approach.


- Côte-Rotie: The Côte-Rotie vineyard is certainly one of the oldest in existence in the Rhône valley : Vienne wines were already highly reputed by Rome as far back as one century B.C.

An old fondly, told legend, belonging to Côte-Rotie related the story of the seigneur de Maugiron who having two daughters, one blond and the other dark haired, bequeathed a hillside to each one of them. And thus were born the names of "Côte-Blonde" and "Côte-Brune".

- Condrieu: Just like that of Côte-Rotie the Condrieu Vineyard has a glorious history which goes back to Roman times.

Extremely difficult agricultural conditions, attraction for better paying fruit farming, industrial development and its consequences: all meant that rural exodus led to the final reuction of land in wine production to only 17 hectares in 1985.

Thanks to a handfull of winegrowers, today the Condrieu vineyard is now back into development.

- Saint-Joseph: The vineyard was originaly established in the areas surrounding Tournon : Mauves, Saint-Jean de Muzols et Lemps, "Mauves wines" were higly reputated in the last century even as far afield as Russia, on the Tsars' dining table.

Two sites had already gained respect at that time. Saint-Joseph hill-side, a parcel of land owned today by maison Chapoutier as well as that of Saint-Épine.

- Crozes-Hermitage: The appellation was initially applied only to the village and surrounding area of Crozes-Hermitage, on account of the notoriety won by several parcels of vineyards selected as Hermitage A.O.C. (Controlled Appellation). It is now a well known wine.

- Hermitage: Ermitage wines possess a rich historical past. They were appreciated as early on as Roman times when they were enjoyed (as well as Côte Rotie wines) under the name of "Vienne wines" and were later to be called "Saint Christopher's hillside wines" because of a chapel there bearing the saint's name. They were also to be known of as "Tournon wines".

The name of Ermitage probably first appeared in the XVIIth Century in memory of Henry Gaspard, a knight from Stérimberg: who having come back from the Crusades (in the XIIIth Century) and tired of waging war, lived as a hermite on a hillside which had been given to him by Anne of Castille, Queen of Spain.

There he planted a vineyard. Alexander Dumas as well as the Tsar Nicholas II are among the many connoisseurs of this particularly highly estimated wine.

. Ermite: Situated at the top of the Hermitage hill, around the chapel, in a place named the Ermite. The vines are 80 years old and are on granitic soils which are very poor.

. Pavillon: This plot has an area of approximatively 4 ha. It has given its name to this plot selection and has a particular geology. This soil is made up with sediments on a fine layer being on a granitic subsoil.

. Monier de la Sizeranne: comes from a blending of different soils from West to East: “les Bessards”: from a granitic origin, it constitutes the “soul” of a good Hermitage; “le Méal”: old alluvial terraces, with a lot of gravels and shingles more or less calcareous; “les Greffieux”: silty soil with shingles.

. Méal: The wine is only produced with grapes coming from the Méal hillside. This slope is composed of high terraces of shingles and clay. The vines are about 50 years old.

. Chante-Alouette: The grapes producing this wine come from three different vineyards: “Le Méal”: this is an old fluvioglacial alluvial deposit soil with numerous shingles. “Les Murets”: soils consist of granitic arena and alluvial deposits of same nature. “Chante-Alouette”: it is set on loess soil with a fine layer of clay and limestone.

. Greffieux: The wine comes from the Greffieux situated at the foot of the Hermitage hill. The soil is made up with glacial alluvial deposit terrace composed of shingles and clay.

. De l’Orée: The grapes producing “De l’Orée” come from “Les Murets” plot. This soil is made up with very old fluvioglacial alluvial deposits.

- Cornas: The vineyard belonging to Cornas holds a high reputation, and has done for very many years.

Charlemagne, Saint Louis et Louis XVth are often referred to in context to Cornas.

On the eve of the French Revolution people spoke of the "Black wine" produced in Cornas and in the 19th Century it was given equal rating with the wines of Chateauneuf du Pape.

Similarly to Côte-Rotie and Condrieu, hard working conditions on the lands led to large scale rural exodus.

- Saint-Péray: This 62 ha vineyard of rugged hills of granite overlaid with silt, loess and limestone debris stretches on the two communes of Saint-Péray and Toulaud in the Ardèche department.

In 1825, a cellar master from Champagne was invited in the region and, in 1829, the cork from the first bottle of sparkling Saint-Péray was popped.

In this appellation, some still wine is also produced, made with the Marsanne grape variety.

- Ardèche: Since 1995 maison M.Chapoutier have cultivated some remarquable soils throughout the southern region of the Ardèche.

At the foothills of the Coirons in Mirabel, the volcanic soil (previously owned by Olivier de Serres, is perfectly adapted to the cultivation of Viognier. At an altitude of 350 m we are able to glean the freshness, minerality and generous fruit characteristic from this exciting varietal. However, not only do we produce a dry white viognier, but they also make a desert wine (Coufis de Paille) which is vinified according to the methods used to make Hermitage Vin de Paille.

- Côtes du Rhône: The Côtes du Rhône vineyard is one of the oldest in France.

More than two thousand years ago, Vienna was a prestigeous metropolis and first planted vineyards there.

The idea which differentiates Nothern from Southern Vineyards dates back to the XII th century.

The reputation of wines largely overstepping regional limits, a royal edict in 1729 respecified the demarcation and instituted marking of casks with the letters " C.D.R. ".

The Côtes du Rhône wines finally attained official recognition from the INAO in 1937 thanks to Baron Le Roy de Boiseaumarié.

- Rasteau: The vineyard of Rasteau is situated some kilometers far from “Les Dentelles de Montmirail”. It is one of the most imposing of the department of Vaucluse. It spreads out on brown-chalky soils and poor soils on marl.

- Gigondas: The village of Gigondas was a winegrowing area up until the time of the phylloxera epidemic at the end of the XXth Century.

As a consequence of the disaster, Gigondas chose to turn towards olive growing.

However,following the " Black Frosts " in 1956 which destroyed the greater part of its olive trees Gigondas reverted to winegrowing, re-implanting high quality vineyards- and which nevertheless had to wait until 1971 before gaining A.O.C. acknowledgement.

- Beaumes de Venise: Beaumes is a word which originates from Balmes in old French and means "caves", Venise comes from the name of the rovince, the county of Venaisson (Comptat Venaissin).

The hillsides and the plain are protected from the strong Mistral (North) wind by the contours of the "Dentelles de Montmirail". They face south and are thus well exposed to sunlight.

- Chateauneuf-du-Pape: Chateauneuf's history is extremely dense.

One of the most important periods to retain goes back to the time when the Popes had their residence in Avignon in the Xvth Century.

The village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape was at that time the papal summer residence (Jean XXII, Urbin V and Innocent VI) and they succeeded in imposing its wines. In the early Xxth Century winegrowers were regulerly acknowledged for their wines by a special board of judges which was set up under the instigation of Baron "le Roy de Boiseaumarié."

- Luberon: The Luberon Regional Natural Park acts as the setting for the Luberon vineyards. These currently cover 36 communes, which are all situated in the south east of the Vaucluse department. Classified as Mediterranean but under the influence of a more continental climate from the Alps and Rhone Valley. The Luberon ranks among one of the most sun-drenched regions in France with approximately 2,600 hours of sun per year.

Background: The presence of vines in the Luberon goes back to antiquity. The Romans planted these vines in particular in the Pays d'Aigues region, and then in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, the wine-growing areas spread widely, especially to the north of the Petit Luberon.

The development of the vineyards increased at the end of the 19th century and subsequently between the two wars. At the beginning of the 70s the winegrowers of the Appellation, who were conscious of the need to modernise, undertook major works. Their efforts were crowned with success in 1988 when the Cotes du Luberon obtained the Appellation of Controlled Origin.Today, we call it simply "Lubéron"...

- Tavel: From the times of the Papal court up to those of the Kings of France , from Balzac to Brillat- Savarin, Tavel's rosé wines figure among those considered as France's best. In 1820, their notoriety could be compared with that of Cornas or Châteauneuf du Pape wines. Tavel is a fine wine, made for gastronomy.

- Côtes du Rhône Villages: Recognition of the "Villages " wines was acquired in stages from 1953 to 1979.

These ruralties, numbering 74, bearing characterisicts worthy of generating original qualities in their wines were superior to the regional appellation standard.

Superior quality was coferred to 16 of the villages, Rasteau, (Vaucluse) being one of them.

A vineyard which once belonged to the Count of Toulouse, and later to the diocese of Vaison-la-Romaine, was one of the most eminent in the Vaucluse region.


Invitare - Condrieu - M. Capoutier (Blanc - White - Viogner) 2011 - 33
- Grape Variety: Viognier.
- Soil: The slopes of this appellation are as steep as those of the Côte-Rôtie Appellation. Soils, exposed to South and South-East, consist of granite arena and alluvial deposits of same nature.
- Harvest: Hand-harvesting at optimal maturity.
- Winemaking: After pressing, the must is cold-settling for 48 hours. Alcoholic fermentation occurs at temperatures between 16 and 18°C with a part ageing in oak casks.
- Maturing: The ageing is short, about 8 months, on lees in order to preserve the freshness and the varietal character of the grape variety.
- Tasting: Colour: Deep gold, golden yellow with a greenish tint; Nose: Very fruity, exotic fruit (pineapple, lichee) and acacia flower and a hint of smoke brought by the oak. Mouth: very well balanced,full, with a nice fresness which gives a great elegance to this wine.

Chante-Aloutte - Hermitage - M. Capoutier (Blanc - White - Marsanne) 2011 - 38
- Grape Variety: Marsanne.
- Soil: The grapes producing this wine come from three different vineyards: “Le Méal”: this is an old fluvioglacial alluvial deposit soil with numerous shingles. • “Les Murets”: soils consist of granitic arena and alluvial deposits of same nature; “Chante-Alouette”: it is set on loess soil with a fine layer of clay and limestone.
- Harvest: Hand-harvesting at maturity.
- Winemaking: After pressing, the must is cold-settling for 48 hours. One third is vinified in big wooden barrels (600 liters) with regular stirrings and the other part in vats. The temperature of fermentation is regulated in order to develop the aromatic complexity of wines (18-20°C).
- Maturing: Before bottling, the wine is checked by frequent tastings. These are the organoleptic criteria which will determine the ageing period (from 10 to 12 months).
- Tasting: Colour: brilliant and green gold; Nose: complex and subtle, aromas of quince, walnut, honey, ginger, acacia with a hint of linden-tree; Mouth: frank attack, without aggressiveness, final of almond, very elegant and good length.

Les Meysonniers - Crozes-Hermitage - M. Capoutier (Rouge - Red - Syrah) 2011 - 11,50

- Grape Variety: Syrah. Their red Crozes-Hermitage “Les Meysonniers” comes from the vines which are at least 25 years old.
- Soil: The slight slopes are directed to the South. The soil is made up of a blending of shingles and gravels.
- Harvest: The grapes are hand-harvested at maturity.
- Winemaking: This Crozes-Hermitage is vinified in a traditional way with pumping-over and treadings in concrete tanks.
- Maturing: Mainly aged in concrete tanks for around 12 months.
- Tasting: Colour: very intense purplish red; Nose: red fruits, blackcurrant and raspberry, followed by violet aromas; Mouth: ample and round, final of stewed fruits and vanilla.

Les Granilite - Saint-Joseph - M. Capoutier (Rouge - Red - Syrah) - 19,50 

- Grape Variety: Syrah
- Soil: The parcels of vines are located in the districts of Charnas, Tournon and Mauves, where the principal soil and climate components that make for great Saint-Joseph wines can be found. Here there is granite terrain formed by geologic alteration, and content carried in by the wind ensuring that the soils are good for water filteration and restriction. The altitude and wind exposure (including the Mistral) ensure natural regulation of pests while providing freshness throughout the summer. These kinetics of slow maturation, give “Granilites” a potential for freshness, minerality and a particularly interesting tautness.
- Harvest: By hand in dry, sunny weather, on 5 October 2010.
- Winemaking: Temperature controlled fermentation in concrete vats, using indigenous yeasts. 4 weeks maceration was carried out, followed by malo-lactic fermentation in cask.
- Maturing: Maturing is carried out in casks for the first 12 months, and is completed in concrete tanks for 6 months.
- Tasting: Colour: Garnet red with purple highlights; Nose: Nice intensity of wild dark berry notes (blackcurrant, blackberries), mineral notes (graphite), underscored by lovely, smooth oakiness. Palate: soft and well-balanced. Mouth: Soft and well-balanced on entry. Fine, tight tannins, beautiful mineral tautness derived from the granite. Long-lasting finish with lovely dark berry notes.

Monier de la Sizeranne - Hermitage - M. Capoutier (Rouge - Red - Syrah) - 48

- Grape Variety: Syrah.
- Soil: Their Hermitage “Monier de la Sizeranne” comes from a blending of different soils from West to East: “les Bessards”: from a granitic origin, it constitutes the “soul” of a good Hermitage; “le Méal”: old alluvial terraces, with a lot of gravels and shingles more or less calcareous; “les Greffieux”: silty soil with shingles.
- Harvest: Hand harvesting at optimal maturity.
- Winemaking: Entirely destemmed, the grapes ferment in concrete tanks. From one to two daily treadings ensure a good extraction. Temperature varies between 30 and 33°C.
- Maturing: The ageing is performed in oak casks between 12 and 14 months. This gives to the wine woody aromas which are a component of the bouquet. Several rackings allow a slow and natural clarification.
- Tasting: Colour:  deep garnet red, with purplish lights. Nose: red fruit (rapberry, blackcurrant), with a hint of liquorice. Mouth: good attack, round and elegant wine with concentrated and gentle tannins. The final is on blackcurrant, raspberry and spicy (pepper) aromas when it is young.

Domaine Chapoutier
18 Avenue du Docteur Paul Durand
BP 26600 Tain l´Hermitage
Tel: +33 (0)

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