Do and Hope: Michel Chapoutier's Hermitage Duo
Two wines perfect to ring in the holiday season.
Let's talk for a minute why I come back to Chapoutier wines again and again - and why they're always a safe bet when you're looking for a quality Rhône wine. Certified organic and using biodynamically farmed grapes, they set the standard for high quality wines that don't sacrifice an inch to sustainable practices. There's a reason why Chapoutier is a renowned name in the Rhône: for over 200 years they've never strayed from their commitment to making incredible wines every single year.
But Chapoutier doesn't just make incredible wines: they're also committed to accessibility and inclusive values. If you've ever bought a bottle, you'll notice that braille is printed on every label to allow for the blind to discover these wines as well!
All right, enough of my babbling - let's get to reviewing these wines!
Domaine Chapoutier, Crozes-Hermitage Blanc 2019 (100% Marsanne), "Les Meysonniers" [Saratoga Wine Exchange, $39]
I'll be honest, I'm not usually a fan of Marsanne; more often than not, the ones I've tasted come off flat and one dimensional. "Les Meysonniers" is truly opposite of that description. It has a soft, unassuming golden color that might suggest it's a humble wine, but on the nose it's a beautiful combination of roasted pear and almond powder. The mouthfeel is supple and velveteen. My favorite part of this wine, though, is that fantastic touch of acid that hits you right as you finish the sip. This wine would be a sublime pairing with a variety of cheeses but an almond-crusted fish would really make it shine. At $42 stateside, it's worth every penny and could easily age for another couple years for added complexity.
Domaine Chapoutier, Hermitage Rouge 2016, "Monier de la Sizeranne" [Yiannis Wine, $169]
If you, like me, think that Hermitage is a bit too spicy and dark for you, fear not: this one will surprise you. It is a masterful balance of smoke, blackberry, and minerality. In the glass, it has a beautiful, dark crimson robe that explodes with flavor on the palate. This wine can stand up to every holiday dish you'll see on the table this year and let's be honest, will probably make anything meaty - from mushrooms to roast beef - taste even better. It's certainly a splurge (around $160) but the elegance, the structure, and versatility of this wine make it well worth the price.
Before I tasted these wines, I made the assumption that they would be total opposites of each other and embody the two verbs Chapoutier uses in its motto: do and hope. I figured the white would "do" for now, while the red would "hope" for the future - after a few years in the cellar. Both wines "do" excellently this year, yet while drinking them I couldn't help but think how both could easily hold out for another few years. With everything else going on in the world, I wondered, "Could we manage to get through the last few years and hope for better ones in the future, too?"
Well, here's hoping - and even so, we'll drink to that. Happy Holidays, everyone!
** This post was sponsored by Domaine Chapoutier via Folio Fine Wine Partners. Views & opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.