What a fabulous day! We started by walking a few steps from our hotel in Tain to Michel Chapoutier for a special VIP visit. First we walked in the vineyards and got to see the famous hermit’s hut which gave the name to the most famous wine in the region: Ermitage. We learned that the syrah for this wine only comes from the restricted Ermitage plot while wines labeled Hermitage are from syrah grapes from several different plots.
Then we had a wine lovers’ tasting of 8 wines conducted by Chapoutier’s sommelier: Invitare Condrieu ’09, Chante-Alouette Hermitage White ’09, De l’Oréé white Ermitage ’04, Monier de la Sizeranne Hermitage rouge ’07, La Bernadine Chateauneuf-du-Pape ’07, La Pléiade Syrah ’07 (Australia), Les Greffieux Ermitage ’04, La Mordorée Cote Rotie ’01
This wonderful tasting was followed by a specially prepared lunch of salmon and scorpion fish marinated in lemon juice, olive oil and sherry with St Peray “Les Tanneurs;” Beef with pepper sauce, mushrooms, potatoes and carrot soufflé with Cornas “Les Arenes” ’07 and crunchy chocolate cake with Banyuls ’86.
We then went on the short drive to Paul Jaboulet’s Vineum, over 35 acres of tunnels created 2000 years ago as quarries by the Romans. Today it is a spectacular aging cellar for Jaboulet wines. After a tour, we had a tutored tasting of Domaine Mule Blanche ’09 white Crozes Hermitage, Domaine de Thalambert red Crozes-Hermitage ’06, and La Petite Chapelle ’04 Hermitage.
We ended the day with a vineyard tour and tasting at Jean-Luc Colombo in Cornas. We thank tour alumnus Bill Riccitelli for suggesting this visit after getting a personal invitation from Mr. Colombo at a Boston tasting. 5 more great wines to taste: Viognier La Violette ’09, Les Pins Couchés Rosé ’09, Les Abeilles Cotes du Rhone ’08 (50/50 syrah & grenache), Les Mejeans Cornas ’07, Terres Brulées Cornas ’06
It’s going to be hard to top this day, but we’ll try!