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Bernard Faurie Hermitage Gréffieux/Bessard 2018

White capsule. A minuscule amount of this Hermitage rouge (just 50-100 dozen) is made each year, depending on the size of the harvest. We do very well to get the allocation that we receive. As the name suggests, this comes from Syrah vines with their roots in both the Greffieux and Bessards terroirs on the hill of Hermitage. Faurie's Greffieux parcel was planted by his great-grandfather in the '20s and '30s, and lies on the rockier granite seam in this vineyard (which is otherwise sandy with rolled, alluvial stones). This is said to bring a juicy, perfumed personality—which partners so well with the darker, more structured, muscular and mineral-etched fruit of Les Bessards. Les Bessards borders both Les Greffieux and Le Méal, sitting to the west of both terroirs. It's a steeply terraced hillside vineyard with a southwest exposure. The soil is pure granite with gravel over bedrock. Many growers will tell you that the granitic spine of Bessards is sine qua non to great Hermitage.

The 2018 blend comes in at the traditional 60% Les Bessards and 40% Les Greffieux and the winemaking was the same as always: 100% whole-bunch fermentation (Faurie does not own a de-stemmer) in an old wooden vat for 18-21 days. Maturation was in used oak. The wine was not fined and was bottled by hand. It's a stunning rendition of this blend; a powerful Hermitage, yet one of great class and poise.

"Opaque ruby. A complex, highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red and black fruits, exotic spices and candied flowers, and smoky mineral and succulent herb notes build steadily with air. Stains the palate with intense black raspberry, cherry preserve, licorice and violet pastille flavors that exhibit a compelling blend of depth and litheness. Steadily building tannins frame a strikingly long, finely detailed finish featuring star anise, floral and dark berry notes." 96 points, Josh Raynolds, Vinous

Country: France
Region: Rhone Valley