Gilles Robin Northern Rhône, France.
The Robin family have grown grapes in Crozes-Hermitage for generations, but until 1995 they were always sold to the local cooperative in Tain l’Hermitage. In just over 10 years Gilles now estate bottles his entire production and consistently produces some of the very best wines of this appellation. Gilles has just 15 hectares, however most of those vineyards are fully mature at more than 40 years old.
The estate has several plots of land in the favoured ‘Les Chassis’ district just south of the Hermitage hill. The soils in this area consist of large amounts of smooth pudding stones ‘galets’ and red clay from the route the Rhône river once flowed. These richer clay based soils give a wine that is typically rounder and more generous than from some other areas of the appellation.
Owing to the large amount of mature old vines at this estate most of the wine produced is of the premium “Alberic Bouvet” cuvee. This cuvee is produced from vines averaging 40 years age. Picking is done by hand and yields are kept low at around 38 hl/ha. In the ripest years a small percentage of stems are allowed in the ferment and the wine is aged in barriques (and increasingly in larger 450 litre barrels) for about 15 months with about 15% new barrels used each year.
2012 Crozes-Hermitage blanc “Les Marelles”
Produced from 60% Roussanne and 40% Marsanne planted on limestone soils and cropped very low at less than 25 hl/ha to give a very intense “old-school white” according to Gilles. Vinified naturally with its own yeast and aged half in used barrels and half in tank, this wine is kept on lees for just over 6 months then bottled to retain its freshness and perfume. “..it is pretty full and also graceful.” drinkrhone.com
2014 Crozes-Hermitage “cuvee du Papillon”
Produced from vines aged less than 20 years old. The wine is de-stemmed and matured in stainless steel tanks and is designed for earlier drinking for it’s freshness and perfumed black raspberry fruit with anise and spice notes that linger for ages. For enjoying in its youth, great in the warmer seasons.
2011 Crozes-Hermitage “cuvee Alberic Bouvet” Produced from vines averaging more than 40 years old which are located on the best red clay soils close to the Hermitage hill. “Shiny, quite dark red; the nose bears toasted-roasted black berry fruit, has an air of sweet nut, is good and direct. The palate offers supple, ripe black fruit with a fleshy middle, and a gentle spread of tannin and dust after half way. It ends on that grainy note, the black fruit still there. This is shaping up well, has class, balance.” Johnathon Livingstone-Learmonth drinkrhone.com Nov 2012
2005 Crozes-Hermitage ‘1920 vines’ – VERY LIMITED
Just 2000 bottles produced from the oldest vines of the estate planted by Gilles grandfather. Aged in demi-muids, only be produced in the best years.
“Very racy, with coffee-tinged toast framing the sanguine, black cherry, lavender and mineral notes. The long, focused finish is driven by its minerality, with nice buried grip and alluring black tea and roasted fig notes. Drink now through 2014. 93 points” Wine Spectator Oct 2008
2009 Hermitage rouge (from 40 year old vines in Les Bessards) –VERY LIMITED
“It’s very dark, with macerated fig, coffee, loam and anise notes and a long, suave, well-toasted but not heavy finish” Wine Spectator James Molesworth May ‘11
“Opaque ruby. Aromas of black and blue fruits, candied violet, espresso and star anise, complemented by a smoky overtone. Broad, palate-staining dark fruit flavors show impressive intensity and pick up exotic floral and fruitcake qualities with air. A sneaky mineral note adds lift and cut to the long, sappy, smoke-accented finish. This hefty, ageworthy wine really shouldn’t be opened for a while. 92“ Steve Tanzer April 2012